Special Olympics UAE athletes meet esports stars at BLAST Premier World Final

Special Olympics UAE athletes meet esports stars at BLAST Premier World Final

Two Special Olympics UAE athletes spoke about their passion for gaming with global esports professional stars at the recent BLAST Premier World Final 2023 in Abu Dhabi.

Dana Al Mansoori, 19-years-old, who represents the UAE’s football and cycling teams and has won more than 10 medals, and her team-mate Abdulla Al Diwani, aged 17, who counts cycling and basketball among his sports, where he has won over 30 medals, explained how gaming is having a positive impact on their lives during an engaging conversation that was broadcasted during the event at Etihad Arena.

Special Olympics UAE aims to empower People of Determination with intellectual and developmental disabilities through sports while providing them with leadership opportunities to help them display their talents and integrate them with the mainstream society.

Al Mansoori met Heroic star Peter ‘Dupreeh’ Rasmussen, a five-time Major champion at the Etihad Arena and shared her experience of what gaming means to her.

She said: “I come from a gaming family and everyone has played games at some point. Gaming for me is my therapy. I don’t even need to go to therapy as gaming is my therapy.”

For Al Diwani, he shared his joy of playing his favourite game with a conversation with Apex, of Team Vitality, the winning team that triumphed in this year’s BLAST Premier World Final. He said: “FIFA is my favourite game and it’s one I love because it’s a game that I can play by myself or with my friends.”

Al Mansoori, Al Diwani and other Special Olympics athletes also attended the last day of the BLAST Premier World Final where they were among the thousands of spectators to watch the Grand Final between Faze Clan and Team Vitality.

It was the second consecutive year that Special Olympics UAE attended the BLAST Premier World Final with the tournament in the UAE providing another opportunity to boost BLAST’s efforts to grow the ecosystem and unite people of all abilities through gaming. Statistics show there are an estimated 2.7 billion players worldwide with inclusivity in gaming rapidly gaining momentum.

Andrew Haworth, Programme Director of BLAST Premier World Final, said: “Gaming has the power to unite everyone of all abilities wherever you are in the world and the stories told by the Special Olympics athletes during their interaction with the best professional esports stars reflects this. It not only highlights the importance of inclusion through fostering social inclusion but also enhances their cognitive skills – all of which can have a positive impact on their lives.

“It was a pleasure to welcome the athletes back again for the BLAST Premier World Final and we witnessed both the players and the athletes inspiring each other after their meeting each other and sharing stories. We hope the Special Olympics athletes have been inspired by what they have seen on stage and in the Gaming Fan Zone which will further fuel their passion for gaming and esports.”



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