Omani footballer Mahmoud Hamad Alhakmani dedicated his two goals in the final to his home country and thanked Abu Dhabi for hosting the Special Olympics IX MENA Games.
Oman were 3-0 winners over Syria in the final played at Zayed Sports City, with Mohammed Alruzaiqi grabbing the third goal.
“First thing we thank God for everything,” said Mahmoud. “We are grateful to Abu Dhabi for their efforts. The feeling of winning cannot be described and by taking home the gold we will get a great welcome from our country. We are excited to raise our flag.
“I dedicate our win to the Omani people first and foremost. We also would like to thank the UAE and the Emirati fans for continuously supporting us and for everything they have done for us,” said Mahmoud.
Saif Al Seyabi, the Oman coach, said Syria had given his team a tough challenge in a competitive final football match.
“Syria was a great opponent, but we had good opportunities and scored three goals and won. We thank God for this win.
“The Omani, Syrian, and Kuwaiti teams are almost at the same level. God was with us today and our plans worked well. We dedicate our win to our wise leaders and to the Omani people and we promise to bring back home the gold at the World Games in 2019.”
Saif bin Saif bin Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Rubaiee, Head of the Omani Delegation at the Special Olympics IX MENA Games, said the players and all of Oman would savor the victory.
Pointing to the celebrating Omani footballers, he said: “Our feelings are clear. The players are champions of the Special Olympics.
“They are expressing their joy today after winning the gold after a tough game. We are all happy they have reached this level.”
Saif praised the UAE for hosting a successful and enjoyable Games for all of the countries, athletes and teams involved.
“The organizers did a fantastic job and of course we wish the best for our brothers in the UAE and will continuously support them.”
Special Olympics IX MENA Games and Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 are a part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021 that highlights full integration of people of determination into everyday society. Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the most ‘unified’ games in history and promise to offer an inclusive experience for those with and without intellectual disabilities.
More than 1,000 athletes from 32 countries have travelled to Abu Dhabi to take part in MENA IX Games, which is the first major sporting event ahead of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. Athletes are taking part in 16 sports across eight venues including ADNEC, Zayed Sports City, Yas Marina Circuit, NYUAD, Officer’s Club, Mubadala IPC Arena, Al Jazira Sports Club and Al Forsan Club.
Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will see the biggest humanitarian sporting event in the world coming to the Emirati Capital, marking its first debut in the history of the MENA region.