Hundreds of Athletes Compete in Special Olympics at Kincaid Park
Games are a qualifier for national Special Olympics
ANCHORAGE - Kincaid Park was the place to be this weekend where hundreds of Alaskans got the chance to strut their winter sports skills.
Ayesha Abdul is just one of hundreds athletes that have been training for this day, for months.
"I work out every day at the Alaska Club to get myself ready, and plus I have to get rest to be ready to compete,” Abdul said. Her sport is snow shoeing.
"My first race was the 100 meter and I took first place, and my time was 5 seconds faster which is my personal best."
She's been competing in the sport for years, as part of the annual Special Olympics.
“She gave it 110 percent and that's what I asked, is everybody that gives 110 percent, and Ayesha went up and over that today,” said Mona Murphy, her snow shoeing coach.
More than 200 athletes, from across the state also competed in five sports this weekend, which included downhill skiing and cross-country, snowboarding, snow shoeing, floor hockey and relays.
It’s an event organizers say helps bring the community together, while teaching athletes a valuable lesson: to never give up on a goal.
“…Giving people the opportunity through sport to gain confidence and skills and also meet friends, there's not a better place than to be a part of our program,” said Jim Balamaci, president of Special Olympics of Alaska. “All we encourage them is to try their best, give it all, all you can.”
Special Olympics is also a qualifier for the Winter National Olympic Games’ Team USA, which plans to send 2 to 4 athletes.