Abu DHABI — Team Zimbabwe golfer Munyaradzi Musariri returned to his home in Norton yesterday as one of only a handful of athletes to have been chosen as ambassadors for next year’s Special Olympic World Games in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The 23-year-old Special Olympics athlete, who has spent the past week playing golf in the UAE, was invited to Abu Dhabi by the local organising committee to help test the venue and facilities that will host the World Games golf tournament in 2019.
Musariri, who is dyslexic and has learning difficulties, was chosen as an ambassador for the Games due to his ongoing commitment to the sport of golf and his unwavering determination in the face of adversity.
Since first picking up a golf club in 2010, Musariri has achieved far more than many imagined he could and — at the 2015 Games in Los Angeles — he made history by becoming the first Special Olympic athlete from Zimbabwe to win a gold medal in golf at a World Games.
“My trip to the UAE was amazing. The course was beautiful and the local people were so kind to us,” he said.
“We met lots of the organisers and they all told me about the amazing support being given to people with disabilities, so I am so proud to be here.”
Speaking about his new role, Munya’s mother and national director for Special Olympics Zimbabwe, Viola Musariri, said: “I know he will use his experiences in Abu Dhabi to let people know about the positive things that are being done for people with intellectual disabilities in the UAE. His time on the course will also inspire him to come back next year and win a gold medal for our country”.
Munya’s own ambition to change perceptions of people with intellectual disabilities, mirrors that of the UAE leadership, who are the driving force behind the Special Olympic World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.
More than just a sports event for the Middle East region, the Games represents an integral part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021, which strives for full integration of ‘people of determination’ into everyday society.
Abdulla Al Wahibi, director of sports at Abu Dhabi 2019, said: “Munya is one of the most talented athletes — and one of the most likeable people — I have ever met. He truly embodies the Special Olympics spirit and the values of the UAE; determination, inclusion and kindness. We are humbled to have him as an ambassador and look forward to welcoming him back next March for the Special Olympic World Games in Abu Dhabi.”