In a world where gaming is rapidly emerging as a unifying force, it’s heartwarming to witness how this phenomenon transcends boundaries and brings joy to people from all walks of life. The recent BLAST Premier World Final 2023 in Abu Dhabi served as a heartening platform where two exceptional Special Olympics UAE athletes, Dana Al Mansoori and Abdulla Al Diwani, had the opportunity to share their passion for gaming with global esports stars. This article delves into their inspiring stories, shedding light on how gaming has become more than just a pastime—a source of empowerment, therapy, and social inclusion for these remarkable individuals.
The Special Olympics UAE: Paving the Way for Inclusivity
Before we delve into the personal experiences of Dana and Abdulla, let’s take a moment to understand the remarkable organization that has nurtured their talents and dreams. The Special Olympics UAE aims to empower People of Determination with intellectual and developmental disabilities through sports. It doesn’t stop at providing sporting opportunities; it aims to mould leaders, showcase talents, and integrate individuals with mainstream society.
Dana Al Mansoori: Gaming as Therapy
“I come from a gaming family, and everyone has played games at some point. Gaming for me is my therapy. I don’t even need to go to therapy as gaming is my therapy.”
Dana Al Mansoori, at the age of 19, stands as a shining example of how gaming can be a source of solace and strength. Representing the UAE’s football and cycling teams, she has an impressive collection of over 10 medals. Her encounter with Heroic star Peter ‘Dupreeh’ Rasmussen at the Etihad Arena during the BLAST Premier World Final was magical. It’s a story highlighting the profound impact gaming can have on one’s life, transcending physical boundaries and becoming a therapeutic escape.
Abdulla Al Diwani: FIFA, Friends, and Fun
“FIFA is my favorite game, and it’s one I love because it’s a game that I can play by myself or with my friends.”
At just 17 years old, Abdulla Al Diwani has already made a mark in the world of sports, excelling in cycling and basketball and amassing an impressive tally of over 30 medals. For Abdulla, FIFA isn’t just a game; it’s a source of joy and connection. His conversation with Apex from Team Vitality, the champions of this year’s BLAST Premier World Final, underscores the social aspect of gaming, where bonds are forged over virtual matches.
Special Olympics UAE at the BLAST Premier World Final
As Dana, Abdulla, and other Special Olympics athletes graced the last day of the BLAST Premier World Final, they joined thousands of spectators to witness the epic showdown between Faze Clan and Team Vitality. This wasn’t their first encounter with the world of esports, as Special Olympics UAE had attended the tournament for the second consecutive year. Their presence served as a testament to BLAST’s commitment to fostering inclusivity in gaming, a movement gaining momentum as statistics show approximately 2.7 billion players worldwide.
The Power of Inclusion and Inspiration
Andrew Haworth, the Programme Director of BLAST Premier World Final, rightly points out the transformative power of gaming. He emphasizes that gaming can unite individuals of all abilities, transcending geographical boundaries. The stories shared by Special Olympics athletes during their interaction with esports professionals underscore the importance of social inclusion. Moreover, gaming enhances cognitive skills, positively impacting the lives of these remarkable individuals.
In a world where gaming is often seen as entertainment, it’s heartening to see it transform lives and empower individuals like Dana Al Mansoori and Abdulla Al Diwani. Their stories reflect the power of inclusivity, the therapeutic potential of gaming, and the profound impact it can have on cognitive skills. Special Olympics UAE’s presence at the BLAST Premier World Final exemplifies the importance of social inclusion and serves as an inspiration to gamers worldwide. As the gaming industry continues to evolve, let us remember that it can unite us all, regardless of our abilities, and create a more inclusive and joyful world.