Amarillo athletes headed to the Special Olympics

Amarillo athletes headed to the Special Olympics

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - When Team Texas heads to the Special Olympics this summer, five athletes from Amarillo will be representing the Lone Star State for the first time since the 90's as they compete in either bocce or powerlifting.

"It's an honor for them to get chosen because I know they're great athletes, they have great hearts," said Special Olympics Area Training Director J'Nette Thorne. "I think they're going to compete to the best of their ability and they're going to make our area and the state of Texas very proud."

After just winning gold at states, the bocce duo of Keenon Doss and Carla Hughes have their sights set on nationals. While Keenan is a Special Olympics Athlete, Carla is a volunteer Unified Partner.

"We really have a good unspoken communication with each other, so it's like playing with your best friend because he really is my best friend," said Carla Hughes.

"Carla's been a good person and best friend too," said Keenon.

Although nationals aren't until July, the athletes will train about twice a week.

"First, warming up, doing some running exercise and start slowly building your muscles up for the powerlifting," said Patti Ballew who will be competing in July.

Members of Special Olympics who didn't get selected for nationals will still be headed to Seattle to support their fellow athletes.

"Getting to go watch my brother, it's going to be cool [for him] to be on Team Texas," says fellow powerlifter Mark Schuster.

Team members say that while they want gold, it's more about the camaraderie they build with Special Olympics athletes from all over.

"To experience their commitment and their athleticism, it's amazing and then their overall kindness, it's amazing," said Hughes. "I'm not really the most athletic person, so I have to rely on Keenon a lot."

If any of the Panhandle athletes win at nationals, they're hoping it'll help punch their ticket to the world games in Dubai.

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