The eighth edition of IWAS World Games is set to take place in Sharjah between February 10 and 16. The organizing committee during a press conference held at Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort and Spa on February 4 confirmed that 555 athletes from 50 countries will participate in the world’s largest wheelchair and amputee sports championship to be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, supreme council member ruler of Sharjah. This is the second time that the championship will be held in UAE after its 2011 debut in the city.
Present at the press conference were Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi (in pic), chairman of the higher organising committee of the event; His Excellency Dr. Tariq Sultan bin Khadem, vice-chairman of the higher organising committee and chairman of the executive committee; and His Excellency Ali Salem Al Midfa, vice chairman of the executive committee.
Highlighting the importance of bringing these games to Sharjah and the UAE, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed said, “Hosting this championship is one of the key steps for Sharjah in sharing its inspiring message to the world, which is to provide competitive opportunities to sportsmen and women with a physical disability. IWAS World Games deeply resonates with the emirate’s values demonstrated through our community initiatives directed towards achieving inclusivity and humanitarianism locally and internationally.”
Addressing the press, Sultan bin Khadem said, “Sharjah enjoys an international reputation for its cultural and artistic achievements, both at regional and global levels. The emirate has been at the forefront in offering a professional sporting environment for youth from different age groups and abilities to inspire their enthusiasm and competitive spirit.”
During the event, seven games including archery, athletics, badminton, swimming, shooting, table tennis and wheelchair fencing will take place across three state-of-the-art facilities in Sharjah: Al Thiqa Club for the Handicapped, American University of Sharjah (AUS) and Al Dhaid Shooting Club. Al Thiqa Club will be the venue for fencing competitions, archery and athletics. The badminton, table tennis and swimming competitions will take place at AUS. And, the shooting contest will be held at Al Dhaid Shooting Club.
Twenty-five players will participate in the archery game, 200 players in athletics, 25 players in badminton, 205 athletes in fencing, 24 in shooting, 28 in swimming and 48 in table tennis.
The winners of this year’s IWAS World Games will get the opportunity of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The six-day sports event will see athletes from the UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Algeria, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, India, Sweden, Ukraine, Thailand, Turkey, Brazil, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, Kenya, Russia, China, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Italy, South Africa, South Korea, Poland, Pakistan, Norway, Kenya, Latvia, Macau, Azerbaijan, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Serbia, France, Georgia, the UK, the US, Hong Kong, Greece, Czech Republic, Austria, Belarus and Comoros.
The sponsors and strategic partners for the event are Sharjah International Airport Free Zone, UAE Disabled Sports Federation, Sharjah Islamic Bank and Tilal Properties.