Sport 'The proudest moment of my life': athletes excel at the Special Olympics

15:57  17 april  2018
15:57  17 april  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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It takes hard work and determination for people with intellectual disabilities to compete and excel in an able-bodied world. But athletes from across Australia are proving they have what it takes as they compete at the Special Olympics ' National Games in Adelaide.

Athletes from across Australia are proving they have what it takes as they compete at the Special Olympics ’ National Games in Adelaide.

Swimmers Danah Gobbett, Alicia Martino, Tryphena Nicolai and Zara Taylor won the 50-metre freestyle relay.© Provided by ABC News Swimmers Danah Gobbett, Alicia Martino, Tryphena Nicolai and Zara Taylor won the 50-metre freestyle relay.

It takes hard work and determination for people with intellectual disabilities to compete and excel in an able-bodied world.

But athletes from across Australia are proving they have what it takes as they compete at the Special Olympics' National Games in Adelaide.

South Australian swimmer Danah Gobbett, who has Down Syndrome, captained her freestyle relay team to a gold medal win on Tuesday.

"I can't believe I won a gold medal and I came first," she said.

"I've got my team here and my friends and my family and they're really proud.

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"I feel really good swimming, like more pumped, more muscles and I'm getting faster."

Proud mother Debi watched on from the grandstand.

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Make a Gift, Change a Life . “My proudest moment is when I see my oldest son cheering for Nick at Special Olympics events, looking at him with sincere love and admiration," said Traci LaGanke, mom of Young Athlete Nick.

"I'm trying to contain myself so she doesn't see me get too excited, but I am so proud," she said.

"She swam her little heart out there today.

"She loves it, she absolutely loves it, she's such a water baby."

About 1,000 competitors are taking on other athletes with intellectual disabilities at the Special Olympics in 11 different sports, including swimming, athletics, basketball and bocce.

They are hoping to be selected for the world games in Abu Dhabi next year, but you would not know that judging by the sportsmanship, support and encouragement they show each other.

Danah Gobbett, 28, had open heart surgery as a child and turned to swimming to overcome her heart condition.

Tryphena Nicolai said she loved swimming with Danah and the other women in the team, and described winning the gold medal with them as the proudest moment of her life.

Special Olympics Australia chief executive Corene Strauss said that was what the national games were all about, fostering friendships with people who were too often isolated and helping them find their confidence.

"People with an intellectual disability face exclusion, injustice, inequality, misdiagnosis on a daily basis so through these games we give them an opportunity to build self-confidence," she said.

"I'm running out of tissues because I'm crying with joy all the time to see how people have grown and developed.

"It's time for the inclusion revolution, it's time for Australia to support people with intellectual disability."

The National Games will end on Friday.

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