His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council and Chairman of the Supreme Committee for the Protection of the Rights of People of Determination, today attended the opening of the 2022 IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Organised for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by the Dubai Club for People of Determination, the event will run from 9-20 June.
The competition features the participation of 350 male and female players representing 28 teams, comprising 16 men’s and 12 women’s teams. Alongside the event, the IWBF Congress will be held over three days, during which the Federation’s President and new members for the upcoming session will be elected.
Welcoming the participating teams from around the world, His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed said that hosting the international competition for the first time in the MENA region reflects the UAE and Dubai’s deep commitment to organising parasports events. He also highlighted the UAE leadership’s constant keenness to empower People of Determination in the field of sports and ensure their active participation in both local and international events.
His Highness also emphasised the significant role of sports in promoting the integration of People of Determination within society. “Dubai has always been dedicated to providing the essential components for success, and this tournament is no exception. We strive for excellence in hosting major international events, including exhibitions, conferences and sports tournaments across various disciplines. Our distinguished infrastructure, encompassing state-of-the-art facilities and top-notch sporting equipment, sets the stage for extraordinary achievements. Our hospitality services guarantee the utmost comfort for guests from around the globe. Furthermore, Dubai’s position as a global crossroads, bridging the East and the West, is further fortified by our exceptional aviation and travel capabilities. This tournament will undoubtedly become a historic milestone, adding to the legacy of success that Dubai continues to build upon,” His Highness said.
During his address at the opening ceremony, Thani Juma Berregad, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the event, expressed his joy at hosting the 2022 IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships. He welcomed the participating teams to the UAE and extended his heartfelt thanks to HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed for his patronage of the global event.
He added that his patronage reflects the leadership’s unwavering commitment to the parasports sector and their dedication to motivating athletes to strive for excellence in their respective fields. Berregad also expressed gratitude to the sponsors of the event, volunteers and all the teams involved in making the event a success.
Ulf Mehrens, President of the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation, extended his heartfelt appreciation to HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed for his invaluable support and patronage. He also expressed his gratitude to the Dubai Sports Council for its support in aligning with the vision of the Dubai Club for People of Determination. Mehrens commended the organising committee for their dedicated efforts in delivering a world-class event that reflects Dubai’s esteemed global position within the international sports community.
Highlighting the broader objective of the event, Mehrens emphasised that it extends beyond showcasing the best teams, saying:
“The tournament aims to achieve full integration and inclusivity, providing a platform for exceptional players to inspire all participants in this significant global event. Their presence will undoubtedly serve as a source of motivation and inspiration for individuals worldwide.”
The sporting event holds great significance as it serves as a major qualifying event for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, where only eight teams will secure their place.
After rigorous qualifying matches held across their respective continents, the tournament’s line-up is now complete with 16 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams who have earned their well-deserved spots. The participating countries represent a diverse range of nations, including the UAE, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Thailand, Egypt, Canada, Germany, France, South Korea, Argentina, the Netherlands, England, Iran, Iraq, the United States, Algeria, Japan, China, and Spain.
Story and Picture Credit: Dubai Media Office