San Benito CISD Special Olympics athletes recently participated in the First Annual Raymondville Basketball Competition held at the Raymondville Early College High School gymnasium.

Raymondville ISD and the Katstrong Golden Hoops 2017 event hosts welcomed schools and students from Harlingen, Lyford, Mercedes, Raymondville, Rio Hondo, and San Benito as well as day centers from throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

According to event coordinator and Special Education Coach Sandra Nieto, the event allowed special needs athletes from 8 to 55 years old to compete in basketball dribbling, passing, and shooting events.

Events were categorized by age group and gender. Athletes received a numerical score for each of the spot shot, 10-meter dribble, and target events, and their total score determined their final place in the competition.

To kick off the day of friendly and fun-filled competition, participants gathered in the gymnasium for a parade of teams and the lighting of the ceremonial torch. A victory dance was held after the conclusion of the basketball competition and the presentation of medals.

“Our student athletes had been practicing their skills throughout the basketball season. They were very responsive and worked diligently in preparing for this event,” said Rick Tamez, Special Olympics/Adaptive Physical Education Coordinator.

The coaching staff that accompanied the athletes to the basketball competition included Tamez and coaches Davis Ezell, Jesus Zuñiga, Ricky Rodriguez, Ofelia Owens, Maria Cisneros, Cindy Puente, Belinda Perez, Ruben Reza, and Omar Carvajal.

Committed to the Special Olympics motto, “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” the local Special Olympics Program empowers special education students to become physically fit, productive, and respected members of society through sports training and competition.

For additional information on the school district’s Special Olympics program and initiatives, contact Tamez at 956-361-6221.