KARACHI:Pakistan – Etihad Airways, the official airline partner of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, arranged a heartfelt welcome for Team Pakistan athletes as they took off for Abu Dhabi to take part in the World Games. Special guest, actress Sarwat Gilani, also joined the celebration to wish the inspiring athletes good luck. The team of 92 athletes, 27 coaches and three officials departed from Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore with Etihad Airways on 8 March to join over 7000 athletes from around the world. The team will compete in 10 events at the World Games. Amer Khan, Etihad Airways Vice President Central Region said: “Etihad Airways has been supporting and working with Special Olympics of Pakistan (SOP) for nine years now, participating in local events and fundraisers, so it gives us great pleasure that the Special Olympics World Games 2019 is taking place in Abu Dhabi. “Special Olympics continues to bring happiness to the young athletes, who have participated in games across the globe with the help of Etihad Airways. 2019 is also special for us, as Etihad Airways will celebrate 15 years of flying to Karachi in November.” Etihad has been supporting the charity organisation by providing cash and prizes, including airline tickets for the past nine years. From 14 – 21 March, over 7,500 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 192 countries will participate in 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports in world-class venues throughout Abu Dhabi. It is the first time these mega games are being held in the Middle East region and the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2019. Etihad Airways has also launched an exclusive 10% discount for family and friends of Special Olympics athletes, and also for all guests travelling to Abu Dhabi to visit the Special Olympics World Games 2019.