Alaska Special Olympians prepare for global competition
From Alaska to the world stage, Ayesha Abdul-Jallil has big plans and expectations.
By virtue of a championship performance at the Special Olympics USA in Seattle over the summer, the Anchorage resident will travel to Abu Dhabi in March to compete in the world games. The competition takes place from March 14–21, 2019.
"It's a huge accomplishment and opportunity and I'm looking forward to traveling a long ways from Alaska," she said.
Abdul-Jallil is one of two Alaskans who'll represent the state. She'll be joined by Demiko Colbert of Fairbanks. Both will compete in track and field events. In all, 216 athletes from the U.S. will go.
"The only thing I heard about Abu Dhabi is that it's going to be nice and hot," she said at the Special Olympics Alaska Center in Anchorage on Thursday.
She's right about the heat. The average high temperature in March in Abu Dhabi, the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates, reaches into the mid-80s.
Although the competition is still nearly five months away, Abdul-Jallil is already at work. She recently completed a training session in Delaware and the folks at Special Olympics are exploring the possibility of winter workouts at The Dome.
Regardless of the result, she'll embody the state's spirit well. She's already done so.
"When she did the oath at our USA Games this past summer, everybody knew who Ayesha was," said Special Olympics Alaska president and CEO Nicolle Egan. "And so now they're all following her and we're very excited to have her represent people with intellectual disabilities in Alaska."
She'll take part in the 100-meter, 4-x-100 meter relay and shot put. The event is expected to be the largest of its kind: 7,500 athletes from 176 countries aiming to be their best in 24 Olympic-type sports.
And about those expectations?
"I'm going to crush it like ice," Abdul-Jallil said.
Get ready Abu Dhabi.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.