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Ford Sponsors 30 Special Olympians from South African National Team

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Ford Sponsors 30 Team SA Athletes for Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi
Photo: Ford Motor Company

Thirty athletes representing the South African National Team in the 2019 Special Olympics Summer World Games will be able to achieve their dreams with the help of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. Ford is extending a very nice gesture by providing US$69,000 (or 1 million South African Rand) to cover the travel expenses and associated costs and help send the athletes to the games in Abu Dhabi from March 14-21.

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“The Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship,” said Special Olympics South Africa CEO, Ancilla Smith. “We are exceptionally grateful for Ford’s sponsorship, as it will give these athletes a life-changing experience that serves as a catalyst for inclusion and building a lasting legacy of improved health and education.”

The South African National Team will consist of 70 athletes, 21 coaches, and seven support staff members. Sports on the docket for SA’s athletes this year include football, table tennis, bocce ball, and open-water swimming among others. In 2017, the South African National Team — consisting of 24 athletes — took home 16 gold medals, four unified gold medals, two silver medals, and five bronze medals. In 2015, 61 athletes representing South Africa brought home an equal number of medals, including 17 gold.

“It is wonderful to be associated with the Special Olympics, and an honor for Ford to be sponsoring 30 South African athletes this year,” said Neale Hill, managing director, Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region.

In all, 7,500 athletes are expected to represent 170 countries in this year’s games. The 2019 Special Olympics marks the first time in 51 years that the World Games have taken place in the Middle East and Northern Africa region.

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