UAE: Gaming improves life skills, say people of determination

The Special Olympics is one of many organisations that are realising the enormous potential it has including educating and inclusion


A Staff Reporter

Published: Sat 10 Dec 2022, 2:52 PM

Last updated: Sat 10 Dec 2022, 8:26 PM

With video gaming becoming increasingly popular among youngsters, Special Olympics UAE too has a group of people of determination who have similar interests. Special Olympics athletes noted that gaming has helped improve their life skills. A group of 20 athletes are looking forward to attending Blast Premier World Final, where eight of the world’s best esports teams will vie for top honours and $1 million prize pool in Abu Dhabi.

Salma Al Salami, 18, is one of the e-sports athletes and prefers playing Fifa given she has a passion for football.

“One of the key aspects when it comes to Fifa is that you need to create your own strategies and tactics, so I’ve been able to think logically and develop my problem-solving skills – aspects that I carry over when I play football myself,” she said.

The rapid emergence of esports is transforming the gaming industry and the public perception is changing with the Middle East, among the regions embracing it and attracting new gamers. The Special Olympics UAE is one of many organisations that are realising the enormous potential it has including educating and inclusion.

“I really enjoy gaming and the Special Olympics are doing a great job in giving us opportunities to play and meet new people while showcasing my skills for sports and hobbies that I love,” Al Salami said.

For Ahmed Al Jailani, his interest in gaming began at an early age.

“I started off by playing with my siblings and I really enjoyed gaming and the thought process that occurs when playing a game as well the development in my skills when playing a particular video game,” the 33-year-old said.

“You need to think differently on how to win especially when I like playing FIFA or racing games while I am now making quick and accurate decisions and working together as a team – all of which are helping me in my everyday life. The support I get from the Special Olympics is great and I am very thankful to them for providing opportunities to follow my passion,” Al Jailani noted.

Both of them will be among a group of Special Olympics athletes attending the Blast Premier World Final. The elite tournament will be held in partnership with AD Gaming, a government-led initiative.

“We are delighted to be hosting the Special Olympics athletes. Gaming and esports is such a unique space due to the accessibility it provides to players and fans,” Charlotte Kenny, managing director, Blast Premier said.

“Their visit will provide an exclusive opportunity for them to experience an incredible global esports tournament on their own doorstep. By going behind-the-scenes and meeting the world’s best esports players, they will be able to get an insight into the world of competitive gaming along with the opportunities and experiences that come with it.”

For Al Jailani and Al Salami, they cannot wait to watch the tournament in-person.

“I am very excited for the Blast Premier World Final, and I am looking forward to meeting the esports athletes and having a conversation with them to further develop my own skills in video games,” said Al Salami.

Al Jailani added: “This is a tournament that I will be watching for the first time, and it really excites me that I’ll be involved in it, and I cannot wait to witness what will be an amazing tournament.”

Tickets for the tournament can be bought through the websites of Etihad Arena, Platinum List and Virgin Megastore.


More news from UAE