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Ford Sponsors 30 Team SA Athletes for Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi

Last updated on March 9, 2019

Ford Motor Com­pa­ny of South­ern Africa (FMCSA) has announced R1 mil­lion spon­sor­ship for 30 South African Nation­al Team ath­letes to com­pete at the 2019 Spe­cial Olympics Sum­mer World Games in the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates.

The team flew out of the coun­try on Thurs­day to take part in an eight-day sport­ing event which begins on March 14, 2019.

The Team is com­pris­ing 70 ath­letes, 21 coach­es, and sev­en sup­port staff.

They will rep­re­sent the coun­try in var­i­ous sport­ing codes includ­ing in foot­ball, fut­sal (five-a-side female soc­cer), table ten­nis, eques­tri­an, boc­ce, open-water swim­ming, ath­let­ics, and golf.

Ford Motor Com­pa­ny Sub-Saha­ran Africa Region Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, Neale Hill con­firmed the more than R1-mil­lion will cov­er the ath­letes’ trav­el and asso­ci­at­ed costs.

“It is won­der­ful to be part of Spe­cial Olympics, and an hon­our for Ford to be spon­sor­ing 30 South African ath­letes this year,” said Hill.

He said his com­pa­ny will be behind Team SA all the way and wish them the best for the com­pe­ti­tion this year.”

“Sport is one of the best ways of uni­fy­ing and uplift­ing peo­ple to build bright future, for these spe­cial needs ath­letes, and this com­ple­ments our exten­sive involve­ment in soc­cer local­ly,” added Hill.

Spe­cial Olympics South Africa Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer, Ancil­la Smith con­firmed the spon­sor­ship, say­ing it will offer peo­ple with intel­lec­tu­al dis­abil­i­ties the oppor­tu­ni­ty to realise their poten­tial, devel­op phys­i­cal fit­ness, show courage, and expe­ri­ence joy and friend­ship.

“We are grate­ful for Ford’s spon­sor­ship, as it will give these ath­letes a life-chang­ing expe­ri­ence that serves as a cat­a­lyst for inclu­sion and build­ing a last­ing lega­cy of improved health and edu­ca­tion,” she added.

Over 7 500 ath­letes from 170 coun­tries assist­ed by 2 500 coach­es and 20 000 vol­un­teers will com­pete in 24 sum­mer sports.

This will make it the largest inter­na­tion­al sport­ing and human­i­tar­i­an event of the year, and a record turn-out for the Spe­cial Olympics found­ed in 1968.

Hill said the 2019 Spe­cial Olympics South Africa Nation­al Team hope to repli­cate the suc­cess­es of recent years.

Dur­ing Win­ter Games in Aus­tria in  2017, SA Nation­al Team com­pris­ing 24 ath­letes returned with 27 medals, which includ­ed 16 gold medals, four uni­fied gold medals, two sil­ver, and five bronze medals.

In 2015, the team of 61 ath­letes won 17 gold, 20 sil­ver, and 24 bronze medals.

The 2019 World Games kick off with a star-stud­ded Open­ing Cer­e­mo­ny in the icon­ic Zayed Sports City Sta­di­um in the heart of Abu Dhabi, the largest sports venue in the Per­sian Gulf.

Besides sports com­pe­ti­tion, the 2019 World Games will fea­ture inspir­ing non-sports activ­i­ties and pro­grams, includ­ing Uni­fied Sports expe­ri­ences, free Healthy Ath­letes screen­ings, a Glob­al Youth Sum­mit, and the Law Enforce­ment Torch Run.

Organ­is­ers will broad­cast the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies to 120 coun­tries world­wide, with 50 hours of live tele­vi­sion cov­er­age.

Super­Sport will fea­ture Spe­cial Olympics, so keep an eye on the broad­cast sched­ule to catch the action

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