Press "Enter" to skip to content

Special Olympics draws scores of athletes to Vidinha Stadium

LIHU‘E — Several hundred Special Olympics athletes participated in a variety of track and field games at the biggest single event of the year for the local program, which was held at Vidinha Stadium on Saturday.

The Special Olympics Kaua‘i team, including its most recent island coordinator Lisa Aki, received support from First Hawaiian Bank, Kaua‘i Police Department and Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa to host the event that boasted several Special Olympics delegations. The event was a prelude to the state offering that will take place on O‘ahu this summer.

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School with its “Head of Delegation” Amanda Fretto Girard, Kaua‘i High School with Erin Dunn, the Kaua‘i Storm with Traci Planas, Kaua‘i Lanakila with Tamarine Wailani Carvalho, King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School with Michelle Mizutani and Waimea High School with Carrie Kimmel led the parade of athletes.

Participants competed in track and field events, such as the standing long jump, softball throw, distance races and specialty events, such as the wheelchair race.

“We participated last year for the first time,” Kimmel said. “This year, we registered and the team is official.”

The team became finalized following a Waimea High School Senior Project when a group of students visited the event to experience first-hand, the benefits and experiences of both Special Olympic athletes and event volunteers at the competition.

More than 25 years ago, First Hawaiian Bank and law enforcement officers gave their support of the Special Olympics with the inaugural FHB Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run, which carries the Flame of Hope into the competition field and starts the daylong event.

Barboza was a Honolulu Police Department officer who was killed in the line of duty. During his off time, Barboza volunteered as a coach for Special Olympics. The purpose of the torch run helps raise funds for Special Olympics,while honoring the fallen police officer.

Other volunteers included Kapa‘a High School Assistant Athletic Director Calvin Paleka, who spent some time helping athletes and volunteers before heading to an Emergency Preparedness Fair, the Kapa‘a High School JROTC unit, and Sarah Tochiki and the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Jazz Band.

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, allowing them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Source: The Garden Island

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply