The Duke of Sussex has sent a message of good luck to the Special Olympics Great Britain team on the eve of The Special Olympics World Games 2019, which starts today in Abu Dhabi.

This year, Special Olympics Great Britain has sent its biggest delegation of athletes ever to compete in the World Games with 128 Special Olympic Great Britain athletes from England, Scotland and Wales, all competing across 17 sports for Gold medal glory.

They are part of more than 7,500 athletes with Intellectual Disabilities from over 190 countries who are competing in 28 sports over five days taking part in the Special Olympics World Games 2019 – the biggest sporting and humanitarian event of this year.

The message was read out to the athletes at a special event on Wednesday night to mark the World Games starting on Thursday.

The Duke of Sussex wished the athletes, “the best of luck” and said, “…you should all be incredibly proud of what you have achieved simply by getting on that plane to Abu Dhabi and representing your country.”

His Royal Highness went on to say, “You’ve all been on your own personal journeys to get there but are united in one shared aim: to break down barriers and change attitudes.  While you compete over the next two weeks, know that you are an inspiration to us all, especially your friends and families.”

The Duke of Sussex concluded: “We’re all supporting you!”

Michelle Carney, CEO of Special Olympics Great Britain said: “The whole team – athletes and volunteer coaches and staff – could not believe it when they heard the Duke’s message.  The reaction was incredible.” 

“Special Olympics Great Britain is often described as the best kept secret in sport and we are on a mission to change that.  To have received the support and a message from the Duke of Sussex is not only a huge boost to us as an organisation but to all the children and adults with Intellectual Disabilities whether they are competing in the World Games or not.  We feel very honoured and grateful.”

About Special Olympics Great Britain

Special Olympics Great Britain (GB) is a non-profit charity which provides year-round sports coaching and athletic competition in summer and winter sports for children and adults with Intellectual disabilities.

There are an estimated 1.5 million people with an Intellectual Disability in Great Britain and that number is predicted to rise.

The Special Olympics are an IOC recognised organisation founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver and this year, is celebrating its 50thAnniversary. Unlike the Olympics and Paralympics, Special Olympics differs in that it aims to offer opportunities for athletes of all abilities to take part in a range of sport every day of the week, every week of the year. 

Special Olympics GB currently has more than 140 accredited programmes in England, Scotland and Wales and provide coaching and competition opportunities in 28 sports. These programmes are run by over 4,000 volunteers who support thousands of the athletes with Intellectual disabilities to take part.

Special Olympics GB is more than just an opportunity to take part in sport – it transforms lives.  It provides opportunities to increase confidence, realise potential, develop physical fitness and mental well-being, demonstrate courage and experience new friendships.  And above all for both athletes and their families – to have some FUN.

The work of Special Olympics GB is currently 100% funded by individual, trust and corporate donations and financial support is crucial to enable us to continue our work.

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