Special Olympics IX Mena Games: Divisioning explained

By Angel Chan

ABU DHABI 16 March 2018: With less than 24-hours to go, over 1,000 athletes participating in Special Olympics IX Mena Games Abu Dhabi 2018 are gearing up for one of Special Olympics’ most unique elements of the Games, ‘divisioning’.

Divisioning will take place on 16th March for all sports except for Cycling, which will take place on 17th March at Yas Marina Circuit.

Divisioning allows all athletes participating in any Special Olympics Games the opportunity to compete on an equal playing field. It is a fundamental rule which matches athletes up with others of the same gender, around the same age, and most importantly of the same competitive ability.

This type of competition-level matching makes Special Olympics events even more exciting and meaningful for both athletes and spectators by ensuring competitions are fair and empowering.

Divisioning explained

Before each competition, a time, score or skill assessment is submitted for each athlete or team. For judged or other events that are not timed or measured — such as football, gymnastics and badminton — there is a series of short games between athletes or teams. There can also be an assessment of each athlete or team’s ability by a committee.

The divisions are then set up based on the information on each athlete’s skill level so that each set of competitors is closely matched.

Each division should include a minimum of 3 athletes or teams and a maximum of 8 athletes or teams
There should be no more than a 15 per cent difference between the most highly skilled athlete or team – and the lowest skilled athlete or team in each division.

Special Olympics IX Mena Games will be open to members of the public and free to attend, with around 25,000 spectators expected. More than 1,000 athletes from 31 countries have now arrived in Abu Dhabi to take part in MENA IX Games; the first major sporting event ahead of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

Athletes will take part in 16 different sports that will be hosted in eight different venues including ADNEC, Zayed Sports City, Yas Marina Circuit, NYUAD, Officer’s Club, Mubadala IPIC Arena, Al Jazira Sports Club and Al Forsan Club.

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.