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Special Olympics bowlers going to Florida

To say the athletes are excited about going to Florida for the national bowling competition would be an understatement.

“We are quite excited that they have been the chosen athletes to be a part of this special USA games,” said Wai Mata, the Kaua‘i SSV program manager for the Easterseals Hawai‘i.

“Our Easterseals Waimea center will be sending one participant, Randelle Lee, and two participants, Lisa Laureta and Carleen Yamamoto of the Kapa‘a center, will be participating at the Special Olympics USA Games that will be held in Orlando, Florida in June.”

Additionally, two of the Easterseals staff, Melissa Iida and Briann Ritch-Lazaro, will be joining them as volunteers.

“They’re all very excited,” said Lee’s mom Saturday while waiting on the bowlers to arrive for practice at Kaua‘i Bowl in Rice Shopping Center in Lihu‘e. “They needed to get a picture with a Hawaiian background to send so they’re doing it at Nawiliwili.”

Saturday practice was special because joining the Kaua‘i contingent, Lynette Young-Pak, designated as the head coach for Hui O Hawai‘i bowling, and Honolulu athlete Courtney Playter joined the ‘ohana for the 90-minute practice at Kaua‘i Bowl that was rapidly filling with customers celebrating birthdays and group get-togethers.

The three Kaua‘i bowlers will be part of the Special Olympics Hui ‘O Hawai‘i bowling team that will leave Kaua‘i on June 2, and arrive back in Lihu‘e on June 12.

From June 5 through 12, the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games will unite more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states, the Caribbean, and 125,000 spectators, during one of the country’s most cherished sporting events.

“There are more games outside bowling,” Lee’s mom said. “There’s bowling, but also basketball, bocce ball, cheerleading, equestrian, flag football, golf, gymnastics, open water swim, powerlifting, soccer, softball, stand up paddleboard, surfing, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and even a triathlon.”

She said the athletes, including coaches, need to fundraise at least $1,500 or more to get to Florida.

A special fundraising page has been set up at

“Randelle has been lucky,” her mother said. “Her uncle is Mama Bear’s (food truck) in Waimea, and because she’s from the Westside, a lot of the customers to Mama Bear’s have been contributing through the special collection container they set up at the window.”

She said Michael Koerte’s son even donated a fish that Mama Bear created a dish from, and proceeds went to help Randelle get to Florida.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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