CAMARADERIE: Gladstone Special Olympics volunteer Lauren Beecroft with Dylan French, Jarrod Lee, Jacob Vickery, Terry Fellows, Adam Knust, Kerrod Hamilton and coach Chris Hayden are ready for the Special Olympics.
CAMARADERIE: Gladstone Special Olympics volunteer Lauren Beecroft with Dylan French, Jarrod Lee, Jacob Vickery, Terry Fellows, Adam Knust, Kerrod Hamilton and coach Chris Hayden are ready for the Special Olympics. Brenda Strong GLAPOOL

These athletes are good sports

THE athletes have lined up at the edge of the pool to pose for a photo.

One of the boys falls backwards, making a huge splash. The others start to giggle but quieten quickly when Adam Knust speaks.

"Don't laugh. This is our teammate," the 20-year-old said.

The Observer has scored an invitation to the Gladstone Special Olympics weekly training session.

Chris Hayden is a fairly new addition to the team. And he doesn't bother being modest about his talents.

"I'm pretty good at it," he said of his prowess in the pool.

His favourite stroke is freestyle because it makes him feel powerful.

Chris also praised his friend Kerrod Hamilton.

"You're faster than me," he told Kerrod, 18.

The camaraderie between the athletes is clear and their enthusiasm is infectious.

"I love hanging out with these guys - they're always happy and smiling," volunteer Lauren Beecroft said.

But Chris put it best.

"I just like being here with all my friends," he said.

THE TEAM

Debbie Knust started the Gladstone branch of Special Olympics Queensland last October

Three sports are offered: swimming, soccer and basketball

The goal: to help people with an intellectual disability reach their personal best, regardless of their skills

SPECIAL OLYMPIANS

Jarrod Lee, 10, is set to swim for Queensland at the Junior National Games in December. The games are in Newcastle.

Adam Knust is heading to Cairns from October 8-12 to play soccer in the Trans-Tasman Tournament.

Visit www.specialolympics.com.au/gladstone.

 



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