- Special Olympics Summer World Games took place in Abu Dhabi from 14 to 21 March
- South African team of 71 athletes earned 35 gold, 15 silver and 12 bronze medals
- Ford provided sponsorship of over R1-million for 30 special needs athletes
The Special Olympics South Africa National Team has done the country proud, landing back in Johannesburg on Friday 22 March with a record haul of medals from the Special Olympics Summer World Games held in the United Arab Emirates.
Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) sponsored over R1-million towards the costs for 30 athletes to compete in this global event, which featured 7 500 athletes from more than 190 countries, who assembled in Abu Dhabi from 14 to 21 March.
Team South Africa, which comprised 71 athletes, earned 35 gold, 15 silver and 12 bronze medals - the highest tally of medals ever for the national squad, which competed in football, fustal (five-a-side female soccer) table tennis, equestrian, bocce, open-water swimming, athletics and golf.
"We are extremely proud of the South African National Team and their superb achievements this year," said Minesh Bhagaloo, Communications Manager of Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region. "It is a privilege to be associated with the Special Olympics, and to have made it possible for these athletes to attend the games and shine on the international stage.
"That they managed to bring home a record number of medals is the icing on the cake for these athletes, along with the life-changing experiences they gained and friendships made along the way," Bhagaloo added.
According to Special Olympics South Africa, the Special Olympics World Games use sport as a catalyst to create opportunities for athletes to be defined by their abilities rather than their disabilities.
In addition to sports competition, the 2019 World Games featured inspiring non-sports activities and programs, including Unified Sports experiences, free Healthy Athletes screenings, a Global Youth Summit, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
The Special Olympics will be featured on SuperSport, so keep an eye on the broadcast schedule to catch the action.