SAN ANTONIO – Athletes from all over the state are in San Antonio this weekend for the return of the Special Olympics Texas Summer Games.
The games are back in the Alamo City for the first time since 2019 after they were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the athletes competing in San Antonio is 14-year-old Aldrin Hernandez. He plays on the Kinetic Kids soccer team.
“We’ve played a lot of scrimmages and some games. We’ve won regionals,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez and his teammates are just a few of the nearly 2,000 athletes competing in the 2022 Summer Games hosted by Morgan’s Wonderland.
“It’s a fun environment and with all the competition, it’s going to be difficult to beat all the other teams,” said Hernandez.
A few events including soccer started early Friday at the STAR Soccer Complex and across the street at Heroes Stadium.
Athletes will compete in track and field, cycling, gymnastics and tennis throughout the weekend.
“We’re glad to have them back after three years. It’s one of the biggest events of its kind in the country, definitely the biggest in the state of Texas,” said Dr. Brent Fields, president and CEO of Morgan’s Inclusion Initiative.
Fields said this event at Morgan’s Wonderland highlights inclusivity for these young competitors and their families.
“The competition alone is just amazing, but I’ve really enjoyed just watching families come from all over the state and watch them walk into this park and know that there’s a place built just for them if they have a family member with special needs,” said Fields.
Along with the athletes, Morgan’s Wonderland expects thousands of coaches, parents, volunteers and spectators over the four-day competition.
The official opening ceremonies for the Summer Games will be held Friday evening at Toyota Field and all events are open and free to the public.
This is Aldrin’s first time playing in Special Olympics Texas and while he wants to have a good time, he wouldn’t mind bringing home a medal.
“It’s going to be great, going to be really fun,” said Hernandez. “Just to see everyone and get to play and hopefully win a few games.”