Princess Reema Bint Bandar Bin Sultan Image Credit: AFP

Manama: Princess Reema Bint Bandar Bin Sultan, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Women in Sports Commission and a member of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, has been appointed head of the newly established Saudi Special Olympics Federation.

Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Turki Al Faisal, Chairman of the board of the General Sports Authority (GSA) and President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee announced the establishment of the federation days ahead of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi on March 14-21.

Princess Reema, a trailblazer in the drive to empower women in Saudi Arabia, was appointed on February 23 the kingdom’s ambassador to the United States, becoming the first female envoy in her country’s history. She was also given the rank of minister, making her the first woman minister in Saudi Arabia.

Princess Reema has also been the most prominent female figure in sports in Saudi Arabia.

As President of the Mass Participation Federation, she was the first woman to lead a multi-sports federation in the Kingdom, encouraging communities to adopt a more active lifestyle and helping to change the habits of Saudis toward fitness and health exercises.

In 2016, she served as the Saudi General Sports Authority’s (GSA) Deputy of Planning and Development, where she has led diversity and inclusion (D&I), the development of the Kingdom’s sports economy, and strategic partnerships.

She was also appointed as vice president of women’s affairs at the General Sports Authority (GSA) and as president of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports and successfully pushed for the inclusion of physical education for girls in schools.

In 2017, Princess Reema was awarded HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award for her role played in the empowerment of women in the region.

The Special Olympics World Games, the first to be held in the Middle East and North Africa, will be the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2019.

Over 7,500 athletes and 3,000 coaches, representing more than 190 nations, will participate in 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports in venues throughout Abu Dhabi and Dubai.‫

The Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE’s Armed Forces.

According to organisers, the games “are an integral part of local, national and regional plans to expand opportunities for people of determination with intellectual disabilities in every aspect of the event in line with Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s shared vision of a unified and inclusive society.”