The torch for the Special Olympics World Games will reach every emirate in the UAE, visiting Emirati attractions such as Fujairah Fort and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, it was announced on Tuesday.
The sporting spectacle will be hosted in Abu Dhabi from March 14 to 21 - the first time the event has been brought to the Middle East - but organisers are ensuring the entire country is touched by the Olympic spirit.
The flame will be lit in Athens then transported to the UAE, where it will be led through the country by athletes and law enforcement officers from around the world – also known as the Guardians of the Flame – over ten days.
Officially, it is called the Law Enforcement Torch Run, but for 2019 it has been branded the Flame of Hope Torch Run.
The torch tour is being organised by the Ministry of Interior in partnership with the Local Organising Committee of the World Games.
Khalfan Mohammed Al Mazrouei, managing director of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi, said the torch run is in line with the UAE's values of "inclusivity and unity".
“The Ministry of Interior’s sponsorship of the Flame of Hope Torch Run, which is one of the biggest events accompanying the World Games, celebrates the values of inclusivity and unity, which is enjoyed by all within the UAE,” Mr Al Mazrouei said.
The Flame of Hope will arrive on February 28 at Abu Dhabi Airport on an Etihad flight.
Then, on March 4, the torch run will start at Wadi Al Wurayah Waterfalls in Fujairah, before travelling to Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman and Sharjah.
During its travels, the Olympic flame will spend a day at locations across the UAE, including Jebel Jais, Fujairah Fort, Al Majaz Waterfront and Al Thiqa Club, a venue in Sharjah supporting people with disabilities, which also serves as a training venue for some Special Olympics Athletes.
Then, the torch will spend two days in Dubai, being carried past landmarks such as Burj Al Arab, the Dubai Frame, Al Seef Village and Atlantis The Palm hotel. There will be a ceremony in Burj Park on March 10.
The run will then go to Al Ain and Al Dhafra, before finishing in Abu Dhabi, where it will be taken to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Founder's Memorial and Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The torches final destination will be the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics on March 14.
More than 7,500 athletes and 3,000 coaches, representing more than 190 countries, will descend on Abu Dhabi for the biggest Special Olympics in history.
People are being invited to watch the Olympic torch as it makes its journey through the Emirates.
Cheer on the Olympic heroes
Fans can now secure their seats for a moment in history as the Special Olympics World Games takes over the Middle East for the first time.
A total of 24 sports - from football and basketball to cycling, badminton and athletics - will be held at nine venues in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Entry is free.
People can register to attend by visiting www.meetthedetermined.com
Tickets for the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics are available at www.ticketmaster.ae.