Special Olympics set to kick off in Catalonia
The event runs until Sunday and brings more than 600 athletes to the north of the country
Ready? Set? Go! Tomorrow, the Special Olympics kicks off in Catalonia. Running from Thursday October 4 until Sunday October 7, the event will take place between the Catalan town La Seu d'Urgell and the principality of Andorra – the first, hosting over 600 athletes from the games.
"It's where I have a lot of fun," say athletes
Many belong to the Taller Claror, a nonprofit association for people with intellectual disability in La Seu d'Urgell. Here, various activities are taking place to get ready for the games. As well as crafts and even gardening, there's also warm-up for the athletic section and in that of petanque, a boules sport which participants truly enjoy.
Gabriel Garcia, a Special Olympics athlete, spoke highly of his years playing petanque. Regards the event, he said: "The Special Olympics seems like a very good thing to me, I like it very much, and it's where I have a lot of fun."
Exercise helps calm the nerves, say trainers
Of course, with competition, come the nerves. But exercising, say trainers, helps. Maite Ferrer, sports delegate and trainer from the Taller Claror, spoke of tips to calm down. "If we're nervous," she said, "we can do some physical activity, and feel like new again." Regards the Special Olympics, she noted that, "since we're already nervous about winning and participating" doing sports "helps us to relax, and go into it with eagerness."
Some 1,500 athletes will participate in the event. The majority are from Catalonia, but 95 come from elsewhere in the Spanish state, with 48 more from Andorra and 122 from other countries.