Special Olympics World Games: Didier Drogba inspired by athletes

“Athletes at the World Games have the power to change lives,” says the football star.

Didier Drogba at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi on Friday evening. Photo: Stan Rayan

He played with them for a few minutes and was touched. Didier Drogba, the football star, felt that interacting with athletes at the Special Olympics World Games here was virtually a life-changing experience for him. The Chelsea and English Premier League legend said that athletes with intellectual disabilities had the power to change lives.

“Today, I tell you, they are not a part of us. We are a part of them,” said Drogba at the Zayed Sports City Stadium here on Friday evening.

'Life's lessons'

“These people today, they decided to include us, wanted us to be a part of their game to know exactly who they are and what they are capable of. They play with the same passion, even more passion, than us. There is a sense of togetherness and a tolerance. If we listen to them, we get inspired by them. I get inspired when I come to these kinds of events. Most of the time when you miss an opportunity, you’re mad but they teach us what life is all about. These are life’s lessons,” he added.

Drogba reserved high praise for the Special Olympics movement.

Read | Drogba predicts major success for Lukaku

“My goal is to support what the Special Olympics is doing for 50 years. This was started 50 years ago by Eunice [Kennedy] Shriver; I’m really inspired by her,” said the 41-year-old, who is a global ambassador for Special Olympics.

“Can you imagine what was happening 50 years ago? We didn’t have the TV, we didn’t have the media; we didn’t have the quality of the field and we didn’t have the infrastructure to enjoy. And we saw the opening ceremony in Abu Dhabi [on Thursday], it was same as the Olympics and the World Cup, it was amazing. I’m blessed to be a part of this and I want people to join the movement and choose to include them and be tolerant. We can achieve so much together.”

Brazilian legend Cafu also interacted with the athletes here and made their day.

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