18-year old Emilda Soriano is competing in the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece this summer. And we are watching her train, thanks to you.
Emilda has been training daily since February, with her mother as a constant and faithful companion.
Training in March was a bit of a problem because it was raining all over the Visayas group of islands. In fact, some provinces experienced severe flooding.
The rain didn’t deter Emilda. She continued to train on a cemetery’s grounds around the tombs. It was there she first learned that running is fun. And there are usually many children playing in the cemetery.
“I heard that you’re going to Greece.”
She remembered me from our previous meeting two years ago, so she did not hesitate to communicate.
“Why are you going to Greece?”
“To run. I will run there in Greece.”
“In what competitions are you joining?”
Emilda will compete in the 100 meters, 200 meters and running long jump.
“Do you run well? Will you win at the Olympics?”
She smiled and nodded.
Emilda’s trainer says,
“She is the strongest of the three [Filipino girls competing], but when we say chances for Emilda we can’t really say because there are a lot of competitors. So, I will say a 50-50 chance for now, but who knows — she might just win a gold.”
Lately, there haven’t been any rains. The sun shines brightly and it’s scorching hot. Emilda is much darker than she was two months ago, but that’s the least of her problems. She’s trying to learn a new skill: the running long jump.
Her long limbs catapult her a good distance, probably enough to make her competitive. But she has one basic problem: She doesn’t know when to jump.
Her trainer is teaching Emilda to count her steps so that she jumps on her right leg, on the correct line, just before the dirt pit.
When I saw her practicing, she made several attempts. At the end of the day, she hadn’t learned it yet. The trainer looked at me and said,
“She’ll get it. We still have two months to go anyway.”
Emilda took off her new shoes and put on an old pair before going home.
“Where are you going, Emilda?”
“Will you come for training again tomorrow?”
“Will you learn to jump?”
Did you make a contribution to send Emilda to Greece? We’d love it if you shared what moved you to do so.