Saudi Arabia wins Special Olympics football gold in first appearance

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Saudi Arabia’s Special Olympics football team won gold after competing in the tournament for the first time on Saturday in the US, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

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The Kingdom took first place in the Unified Cup in Detroit in the state of Michigan beating Romania by three goals to one.

It was the second time the teams had faced each other, after Saudi Arabia beat Romania with a 1-0 penalty in the group stage.

Muhammad al-Mutairi scored a hat trick for the team in the final, after scoring his first goal in the 36th minute.

Teams from Brazil, Jamaica, Korea, Morocco, Nigeria, Paraguay, Singapore, and the USA also competed.

Dr. Maha al-Juffali, President of the Saudi Special Olympics Federation, congratulated the team in a statement on Tuesday and highlighted the efforts of the federation to promote sports for people with intellectual disabilities in the Kingdom.

The Unified Cup is a competition featuring both athletes with intellectual disabilities and those without.

Saudi Arabia’s Director of Special Olympics, Abdulrahman al-Quraishi, also congratulated players, technical staff, and administrative staff for their efforts in winning the gold.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar took part in the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in Detroit on Sunday, July 31.

“So happy to see our @saudiarabiasco athletes at the @SpecialOlympics @UnifiedCup 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. Thrilled to be able to share their excitement and achievements on this special occasion,” Princess Reema tweeted on Wednesday.

In a speech addressing the Saudi team, Princess Reema praised its “good performance throughout this tournament” after it won its first match against Singapore, according to SPA.

Saudi Arabia’s Special Olympics body was established in 1994, and accredited by Special Olympics International.

In 2019, it became a standalone sports federation recognized by the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC).

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