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38th SPECIAL OLYMPICS TAKES OVER OKKODO

The 2014 38th Annual Special Olympics took over the Okkodo Track & Field Saturday morning with a wave of participants eager to get active.

By Mike Nauta Jr.

Beginning in the early Saturday morning hours, people made their way to the Okkodo High School track to partake in the 2014 Special Olympics Track and Field event.  Right around the eight o’clock hour, an array of colors representing the many supporters, volunteers, athletes, and event organizers filled-up just about every space available around the entire track.  It wasn’t too before representatives from each team and organization carried the symbolic Special Olympics torch around the track to signify the beginning of the games.

Merizo Elementary’s Michael Acfalle prepares to takeoff in the standing broad jump competition held during the 2014 Special Olympics event at the Okkodo High School track. (photo by Michael Nauta.)

Merizo Elementary’s Michael Acfalle prepares to takeoff in the standing broad jump competition held during the 2014 Special Olympics event at the Okkodo High School track. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

“I’m very happy to be here today and be the one to carry the torch for my school,” said Inarajan Middle School’s Aisziah Balajadia.  “I was very nervous first, but when it started everything went okay.”

With over 300 hundred athletes participating in the all-day affair, everyone in attendance was guaranteed their fair-share of track and field fixings.  Athletes participated in events that include sprints, jumps, softball throw, assisted walking, and wheelchair races to name a few.

While trying to keep the spirit of good competition at hand, it was all smiles for participants their coaches and volunteers after every event completion.  In the standing jump competition, Merizo Elementary’s Michael Acfalle, Tamuning Elementary’s Jahnay Aflleje, Wettengel Elementary’s Quitana Quitugua, and FBLG’s Ki-mani Lujan gave everyone watching lots to talk about as they successfully completed their event giving nothing but their best recording jumps of three to five feet.

The sense of teamwork and pride was on display all day whether it was an athlete partaking in an event or a coach, teammate, or volunteer cheering on from the sidelines.  On the far ends of the track, the long jump competition took place and the softball throw.  Participants continuously wowed everyone with their performance each time.

“Its fun to be here and cheer everyone no matter where they are from or what school,” said Southern High’s Christopher Santos.  “I cheer for my teammates and I even cheer for whoever is doing an event.”

One of the exciting events on the day was the 100m sprints.  In heat 12 of the event, it was an all Upi Elementary battle as EstellaJoy Cruz and LoveReign Ebanculla took on one another.  When all was said and done the two athletes celebrated their gold and silver medals.

Students from GDOE prepare to race. (photo courtesy of Eileen H. Balajadia)

Students from GDOE and adults prepare to race at the 2014 Special Olympics. (photo courtesy of Eileen H. Balajadia)

Cruz recorded a time of 14.72 claiming first, while Ebanculla clocked in at 17.68 taking second. Another unique event at the Special Olympics is the wheel chair slalom. In heat eight, Mark Pangelinan of Team Gachong, beat out Andersen Middle School’s Mikikko Taijeron to take home gold.  Despite coming in second Taijeron was happy with her silver medal award.

Throughout the day all who came created a positive atmosphere leaving nothing but a sense of unity, pride, and togetherness.  When things came to a close, the smiles and laughter continued as all who was involved made the 38th Annual Special Olympics Track & Field event a very successful one.

“Everyone who came whether it was to participate as an athlete, help out as a volunteer, or simply just to support is a winner,” said parent Rosalyn Duenas.  “Its always a positive thing to see this many smiles together with an entire community.”

PHOTO GALLERY:

8th grader Ervin Tullao of FBLG participates in the softball throw. (photo courtesy of Eileen H. Balajadia)

7th grader Ervin Tullao of FBLG participates in the softball throw. (photo courtesy of Eileen H. Balajadia)

An Ordot-Chalan Pago Elementary student-athlete carries the Special Olympic torch during the opening ceremonies in yesterday’s event held at Okkodo High School. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

An Ordot-Chalan Pago Elementary student-athlete carries the Special Olympic torch during the opening ceremonies in yesterday’s event held at Okkodo High School. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Volunteers from the Oceanview Middle School National Junior Honor Society take a break from all the 2014 Special Olympics action and are all smiles for a photo opportunity. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Volunteers from the Oceanview Middle School National Junior Honor Society take a break from all the 2014 Special Olympics action and are all smiles for a photo opportunity. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Wettengel Elementary’s Quitana Quitugua is airborne in the standing broad jump event held yesterday during the 2014 Special Olympics. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Wettengel Elementary’s Quitana Quitugua is airborne in the standing broad jump event held yesterday during the 2014 Special Olympics. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Merizo Elementary’s Michael Acfalle prepares to takeoff in the standing broad jump competition held during the 2014 Special Olympics event at the Okkodo High School track. (photo by Michael Nauta.)

Merizo Elementary’s Michael Acfalle prepares to takeoff in the standing broad jump competition held during the 2014 Special Olympics event at the Okkodo High School track. (photo by Michael Nauta.)

Agueda Johnston Middle School’s Johnalyn Remotigue prepares for landing during her long jump competition in the 2014 Special Olympics track and field event held at Okkodo High School.(photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Agueda Johnston Middle School’s Johnalyn Remotigue prepares for landing during her long jump competition in the 2014 Special Olympics track and field event held at Okkodo High School.(photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

 Inarajan Elementary School’s Joseph Duenas is all smiles after winning a medal in yesterday’s Special Olympics event held at the Okkodo High School track. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Inarajan Elementary School’s Joseph Duenas is all smiles after winning a medal in yesterday’s Special Olympics event held at the Okkodo High School track. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

A participant in yesterday’s 2014 Special Olympics event takes off in a 100m race. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

A participant in yesterday’s 2014 Special Olympics event takes off in a 100m race. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Team Gachong’s Susan Guerrero celebrates after being awarded a medal in track and field at the 2014 Special Olympics  held at Okkodo High School yesterday. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Team Gachong’s Susan Guerrero celebrates after being awarded a medal in track and field at the 2014 Special Olympics held at Okkodo High School yesterday. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

 Inarajan Middle School athletes are assisted by volunteers during the running of the torch to kick-off yesterday’s 2014 Special Olympics event at Okkodo High School. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Inarajan Middle School athletes are assisted by volunteers during the running of the torch to kick-off yesterday’s 2014 Special Olympics event at Okkodo High School. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Inarajan Middle School athletes and their coaches prepare for the parade of schools during yesterday’s 2014 Special Olympics opening ceremonies. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Inarajan Middle School athletes and their coaches prepare for the parade of schools during yesterday’s 2014 Special Olympics opening ceremonies. (photo by Michael Nauta Jr.)

Sharelen Mack participates in the softball throw. (photo courtesy of Eileen H. Balajadia)

Sharelen Mack participates in the softball throw. (photo courtesy of Eileen H. Balajadia)

Lou-isa Blas prepares a strong softball throw. (photo courtesy of Eileen H. Balajadia)

Lou-isa Blas prepares a strong softball throw. (photo courtesy of Eileen H. Balajadia)

A student from Augeda Johnston readies in the softball throw. (photo courtesy of Eileen H. Balajadia)

A student from Agueda Johnston readies in the softball throw. (photo courtesy of Eileen H. Balajadia)

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