Special Olympic athletes compete in Easthampton - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Special Olympic athletes compete in Easthampton

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EASTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

The Special Olympics World Games just wrapped up in Los Angeles, but the action continues in Easthampton this weekend.

Special Olympics Massachusetts provides year round sports training for more than 11,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities across the state. 

The Westside Thunder from West Springfield took on the Center of Hope Eagles from Southbridge this morning. 

"We're playing softball as you can see," one participant said. 

This is a big game. All teams from around the state that won qualifying tournaments play this weekend.

"When I was a kid, I always wanted to do a big baseball, like in a bigger arena of a baseball field," said another athlete. 

In addition to Softball, athletes compete in golf, cycling, and fishing as well. There are more than 750 Special Olympic athletes and unified partners.

"It's a great program to have these unified kids helping them empowering them and making them feel like they're are part of the community and team," said program coordinator Lynn McCarthy.

After the games, it was more fun for the group.

"Tonight at the social event, we show a movie and have a dance. Athletes love that continue social development that special Olympics provides them," said Charles Hirsch, Communication Marketing Manager.

Friendships are the foundation of the Special Olympics and competition is what brings everyone together.

"I am absolutely proud of me and my team for all this because we work together, talk together, eat our vitamins and believe in ourselves."

Copyright 2015. Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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