By Dave Ross | Special to Hawaii 24/7
Special Olympics West Hawaii traveled to Oahu May 27-29 to compete in the 2011 State Summer Games. The West Hawaii team, comprised of 52 athletes, coaches and unified partners from Oceanview to Waimea, competed at the UH-Manoa campus with the 850 statewide athletes in softball, powerlifting, swimming and track and field events.
Opening ceremonies took place at Les Murakami Statium and welcomed over 2,500 volunteers participating in the Law Enforcement Torch Run named for fallen police officer Troy Barboza. Hawaii County Police Detective Renee Morinaka represented West Hawaii and enjoyed the run with endless smiles and enthusiasm.
Special Olympics West Hawaii brought home seven gold, 12 silver and 11 bronze medals from the events.
The Sharks, led by head coach Holly DeGeal, medaled in 14 of the 20 events the swimmers entered with Kaiena Costa edging out two other swimmers in the 50m freestyle by less than one second.
The Cobras Tee-Ball team used the power of the the Phillip sisters, Malia Conner and Jennifer Poblano to net their fourth place finish.
Isaiah Wong crushed the competition with a 440 pound dead-lift in his 180 pound weight class. The dual sport Phillip sisters also each took home a silver in the bench press competition.
The Kona speedsters burned up Ching Field track with Lendon Cariaga-Ventura and Damian Extor bringing home a combined four medals including a bronze in the 4x100m Unified relay.
The Kona Magua Unified Softball team played at Murakami Stadium to a third place finish behind the pitching and timely hitting of Don Tornow. Unified sports teams are a team made up of a 50/50 mix of Special Olympics athletes and community partners without disabilities.
Special Olympics is dedicated to year-round sports training for children and adults with developmental disabilities. We train all year round in 3 distinct sports seasons and are always open to new athletes and volunteers regardless of prior experiences with the developmentally disabled community. Our next sports season consists of bocce ball and soccer. We will host island wide teams on July 31st in a local competition and travel to Oahu in mid August for the State Aukake Classic.
If you have any questions about the program feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Special Olympics West Hawaii Area Director David Ross at (808) 345-1344 and visit our website at http:www.sowh.org