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People with special needs are often overlooked for athletic competition, but one organization has always been here in the Mahoning Valley to give those with the wish to compete their chance.
“I love it, it is something to keep me busy, active and healthy,” said Elizabeth Opincarne.
From running, to jumping and throwing, athletes from six counties participated in the 44th annual track and field competition at Austintown Fitch High School, but this wasn’t your ordinary track meet.
“It is fun because you get to cheer on everyone out there,” said Bobby Monoski.
“Special Olympics does offer our athletes opportunities to compete just like a normal athlete would and really thrive as an athlete. A lot of opportunity that perhaps sometime in life would not have had that chance,” said David Grossman, the chairman of the Mahoning County Developmental Disabilities Special Olympics.
Athletes said that the biggest joy is competing in front of friends and family. And those family members could not agree more.
“I am very proud of my parents and I’m very happy they are here with me to share this moment,” said Opincarne.
For Williams, he is competing in his fifth Special Olympics in Mahoning County. It’s something his mother could never have imagined seeing him do.
“It’s awesome, he loves it. We get a big kick out of watching him run and it is something that we look forward to every year,” said Mary Williams. “It was hard for him at first, but now he looks forward to it.”
Regardless if you were fast, or just went at your own pace, everyone was a winner on Saturday.