Watch: Sheikh Hamdan pushes boy on wheelchair at Dubai Run

Team Angel Wolf share video on social media showing Dubai Crown Prince pushing wheelchair


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Sat 27 Nov 2021, 4:18 PM

Last updated: Mon 22 May 2023, 2:44 PM

The Dubai Run created history by becoming the world’s largest run, and it has turned out to be especially memorable for a family who were overwhelmed to see the Dubai Crown Prince step forward to push the running chair of their family member, Rio, who is a person of determination.

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council of Dubai joined the Dubai Run 30X30 on Friday with over 14,600 UAE residents while inspiring them to run.

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In a video shared on Instagram by Team Angel Wolf, Sheikh Hamdan, donned in a black sporting gear and running along with residents, can be seen speaking to 18-year-old Rio’s sister and mother - the Watson family, who are popularly known as Team Angel Wolf in the fitness community.

Team Angel Wolf captioned the video: “INCLUSIVE IMPACTIVITY as shown and led by our leader HH Sheikh Hamdan!’”.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Rio’s father Nick Watson, said, “He is such a humble, inspirational leader. I think you have to lead by example and His Highness participating and doing the 10km run is a huge inspiration not just for Dubai and the UAE, but even globally to see someone at his level, the Crown Prince of Dubai participating in the Dubai Fitness event. It’s an inspiration for all of us. We have been here for 24 years and he is an enormous role model to everyone. We are very proud of everything he does.”

Rio has a rare chromosome disorder that affects his speech and motor skills, making even simple movements like walking a challenge for him. But this doesn’t stop him from participating in the toughest of marathons and triathlons. “I was there with my son Rio, my daughter and my wife and we were all marshals. So we were all there to help the run. At the start line of the 10km run, we came to realise that His Highness Sheikh Hamdan was going to attend. He came, said ‘hello to everyone’ and then started running. So we were running on the course anyway and then there was an occasion where we were running next to His Highness. My daughter was pushing Rio around that time and she turned around and asked His Highness ‘would you like to push Rio?’ and then he started to push Rio, which was just beautiful”, said the Dubai resident.

Team Angel Wolf who are themselves an inspiration to others, took to social media to share this inspiring moment. “Rio is just happy to be out. He may have recognised His Highness but because he is non-verbal we are not really sure. Rio loves the attention, he loves being a part of any event and activity that’s happening here in Dubai and you could see at the beginning of the video (referring to the Instagram video) that they (Rio and Sheikh Hamdan) are actually looking at each other. So, His Highness runs up to Rio and says ‘hello’. You can see Rio smiling, so I am sure he acknowledges and hopefully even knows who he is. But as you can see (in the video) Rio is smiling, he is happy, His Highness is happy, we are happy and that’s what it’s all about.”

The family of experienced athletes continue to participate in an array of sporting activities throughout the year - always with Rio - helping spread the message of inclusivity and integrating people of determination, especially children, into society.

Rio will soon be undertaking a new challenge at the Dubai Sustainable City with 60 children to celebrate the UAE’s 50th National Day with ‘Inclusive Impactivity’ where he will be pushed by participating children. Out of these children, at least 11 are people of determination (POD).

Nick opines: “It is a 50km run — 500 meters and 1.5km taking place on December 2 from 6am to 2pm commemorating the UAE’s Golden Jubilee. Anybody and everybody are invited. So please come and join us.”

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