Pinoys go for gold in LA Special Olympics

LOS ANGELES – The south land rolled out the welcome mat for thousands of athletes that will compete this weekend at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles. This year, the Philippines was able to send 35 athletes and 15 coaches, competing in a variety of sports from track and field, to swimming, gymnastics, weightlifting and bowling over the next two weeks.

“I am very happy and I joined this time as a swimmer and I will try my very best to get gold,” said Mizzle Dawa, Special Olympics athlete.

While these athletes have been diagnosed with intellectual disabilities. the Special Olympics which takes place every four years, fosters a positive message of acceptance, courage, and friendly competition. Through the international program, these athletes compete and train year-round with hopes of making it to the games.

Joel Pabia admitted that while there was sadness when his daughter Christine was first diagnosed with Down syndrome, the Special Olympics gave them new hope and helped fulfill their dreams. Christine said she’s very excited to compete.

Joel maintained, “We focus on Christine’s ability not on her disability.”

“Not only do they excel in sports, they also improve on their social and cognitive skills,” said Kaye Samson, National Executive Director of Special Olympics Philippines.

Not all athletes have disabilities. Unified Partners like Kenneth Sibaen participate alongside the athletes in some events, taking pride in their teammates accomplishments. “I feel so happy and overwhelmed,” shared Sibaen.

The Philippines began participating in the Special Olympics in 1991 and have brought home countless medals and awards.

But more memories and victories happen during the days leading up to the games, when athletes enjoy events and tour the area, as they train and form bonds with other athletes and their hosts.

First Lady Michelle Obama and music legend Stevie Wonder will open the games in this weekend’s ceremony where another Fil-Am entertainer will join Nicole Scherzinger.

You may contact Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • kikaypang0
    24 July 2015 at 2:46 am - Reply

    Those coaches …. don’t let them over stay …

    • Arbi
      24 July 2015 at 10:53 am - Reply

      that is how Noz get into US, he was part of those special athletes…….

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