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Powerlifting with the Special Olympics

Athletes competed in the qualifier for State Championships

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - While lifting weights is a great way to stay in shape, for some it's more than a competition.

Athlete Isabel Camacho says the Special Olympics always feels like a family reunion.

"Special Olympics means to me like extra family. It's bonus family and it's a way for us to destress in a healthy manner and improve our self-esteem and our health at every time that we get a chance to do things like this," says Camacho. "So I absolutely adore what I do here."

Friday's meet was a qualifier for the state competition in May.

Athletes deadlifted and bench-pressed weights from 35 pounds to over 300.

Leslie Tralor, says he lifted 225 pounds.

The athlete's coaches were by their side adding extra motivation and encouragement.

Kelly Howll has been a Special Olympics coach for two years and says their energy is infectious.

"They're happy so it makes me happy and just to go out there and see the guys put in the work and they get the results for it," says Howll.

Another athlete, Gabriel Delgado says he's thankful for his coach, Rocky.

"He's just helped me improve on my lifting, making it perfect better," explains Delgado.

This is the second year 4th Ave. Gym in the Foothills has hosted the event.

Justin Haile, owner of the gym says after going to the Breakfast of Champions a couple of years ago, he's been fully involved.

"The smile, the torch just everything they do and they represent is just really neat and if you don't want to help out with something like this, then I don't know what's wrong with someone but it's really cool to be able to help them," says Haile.

Haile made shirts for the event and all proceeds go to the Special Olympics.

Athlete Alex Rippey says he always looks forward to the these events.

"Having fun, doing a great time, making friends and all that," says Rippey.

Linda Cook, owner of The Complex Fitness Training Facility and mom of two sons participating in the Special Olympics says they have been involved for 25 years and being part of a team changed their life.

"They needed to learn the rules, they needed to share the ball, they needed to how to throw and how to hit and so all of those sports they've been involved with have kept them busy all year long so powerlifting is a part of it," says Cook.

The track and field meet will take place Saturday at Cibola High School.

All the athletes are so excited to move on to state in Glendale May 4-6.

To find out more information about the events and how you can volunteer and/or donate, you can visit their website.

Article Topic Follows: Yuma Special Olympics

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Vanessa Gongora

Vanessa Gongora joined the KYMA team in 2022 and is the anchor/producer for CBS at 4 p.m.

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