The torch relay for the Special Olympics MENA Regional Games is continuing its travels around Egypt ahead of the start of the games on December 3 in Cairo.
This weekend, the torch passed through Al-Minufya, Hala’ib and Shalateen near the Sudan, Arish in the North Sinai, Aswan, New Valley Governorate, and Port Said. There has been diversity in the people participating in the relay, with many Special Olympic athletes, their supporters, men, women, children, older people, light and dark skinned Egyptians all participating.
Running from December 3 to 10, the Games are being supported by a number of important dignitaries including Egyptian President Sisi, the head of the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports, the regional president of the Special Olympics, the Governor of Alexandria, and the Governor of South Sinai.
The inaugural games were first held in Cairo in 1999. They saw 210 athletes from 13 countries participating in 4 sports. The 2010 edition of the Games were held in Damascus, Syria. With 15 sports on the program, over 2000 athletes from 23 countries participated. Egypt had 28 of its own athletes competing at the 1999 Games, 37 at the second edition in Rabat, Morocco, 36 at the games in Beirut, 48 at the Tunisia hosted games, and 57 at the 2006 edition hosted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Special Olympics Egypt currently has 24,787 athletes and 480 coaches.