SPECIAL OLYMPICS: DIVISIONING EXPLAINED

UAE, 9 March: Thousands of athletes of determination have started arriving in the UAE ahead of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 and are gearing up for one of Special Olympics’ most unique elements of the Games, ‘divisioning’.

Divisioning will take place from 12th for all sports except for 11-a-side Football, which will go straight to the group stages, Powerlifting, Open Water Swimming and Triathlon, all of which will go straight competition stages. 

Divisioning allows all athletes participating in any Special Olympics Games the opportunity to compete on an equal playing field. It is a fundamental rule, which matches athletes up with others of the same gender, around the same age, and most importantly of the same competitive ability.

This type of competition-level matching makes Special Olympics events even more exciting and meaningful for both athletes and spectators by ensuring competitions are fair and empowering.

Divisioning explained:

•       Before each competition, a time, score or skill assessment is submitted for each athlete or team. For judged or other events that are not timed or measured — such as gymnastics and badminton — there is a series of short games between athletes or teams. There can also be an assessment of each athlete or team’s ability by a committee

•       The divisions are then set up based on the information on each athlete’s skill level so that each set of competitors is closely matched

•       Each division should include a minimum of 3 athletes or teams and a maximum of 8 athletes or teams

•       There should be no more than a 15 per cent difference between the most highly skilled athlete or team – and the lowest skilled athlete or team in each division

Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, which will be held between 14-21 March, will be the largest sports and humanitarian event of the year and will see over 7,500 athletes from more than 190 nations participate in 24 Olympic-style sports. 

Download the World Games app for real-time games schedules, venue locations, timings of more than 3,000 award ceremonies and details of non-sporting activities such as the Play and Live Unified games. Android users can download the app by visiting the Google Play Store while the iOS version can be downloaded from the App Store.  

Sharan Sunner