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Another term
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 16 - 05 - 2019

AYMAN Abdel-Wahab, Special Olympics Middle East and North Africa (MENA) president and managing director, has been elected to a fifth term (2021-2025). The vote was held during the Special Olympics executive meeting staged for the first time at the International Monetary Fund, reports Abeer Anwar. Officials at the IMF honored the managing directors of the world's seven regions, including Abdel-Wahab, for the “great effort exerted by the Special Olympics movement to reach out to people with intellectual disabilities throughout the world.
“Due to his successful role in the Middle East and North Africa region since he first took over in 2001 and leading the MENA region programmes in the worst of times of tension and wars, Abdel-Wahab was able to reach out to a huge number of athletes and to help Abu Dhabi in hosting the 2019 World Summer Games for the first time in the history of the movement which was marvelous. Under his guidance the MENA region was the only region to hold its regional games regularly, culminating in staging the last version in 2018 in Abu Dhabi,” Special Olympics said.
When Abdel-Wahab took over the region, it had only 20,000 athletes. It has increased to 170,000 and targets 250,000 athletes by the end of 2020.
Abdel-Wahab has a number of targets he wants to achieve in the coming period. “I am very grateful for everyone who supported me and my region. We have passed through hard times but together we were able to knock down all obstacles. I am looking forward to paying more attention to unified sports which increases people's awareness with our movement and our athletes.”
In addition, Abdel-Wahab says he will work to allow MENA athletes to compete in 24 sports, not just 16, in addition to giving “great care to youth and young athletes programmes which increases the number of participants.
“I also hope to see all the MENA Region's 23 programmes participating in all events and competitions. We also want the Healthy Athletes programme to run all year round, and not only at specific events or competitions, as it greatly helps in improving athletes' health.”

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