FOUR excited Gympie athletes and one coach are set for the experience of a lifetime when they fly out to Athens to represent Australia at the Special Olympics later this week.
Michelle Cotter, Stephen O'May, Elijah Bond, Kimberley Langton and coach Natalie Upshall are ready for the huge event from June 25 to July 4.
The four athletes are proud to be representing Gympie and their country in their chosen sports.
Michelle Cotter is competing in the sprint events. She said she had been running well and was ready to show the rest of the world what she could do. The trip to Athens will be her first overseas competition.
“I can't wait to get on the plane,” she said.
“It will be a lot of fun.”
Stephen O'May is another competitor ready to take on the world.
He will be representing Australia in tenpin bowling. This will be his first overseas trip and international competition.
The self-taught bowler has been bowling for 20 years and has been raising money for the trip by holding raffles.
He said he couldn't wait to get to Athens and “rip into” the competition. “I will give it my best shot.”
Elijah Bond is a veteran of overseas competition. This will be his third overseas trip and his second Special Olympics.
Bond will represent Australia in 11-a-side soccer in Athens.
He has been playing well in the local competition at One Mile ovals every Saturday and is confident the Australian team will play well.
He told the other athletes they just needed to relax to perform well on the world stage.
Kimberley Langton is another to taste her first overseas competition. She will compete in the middle distance running for Australia.
Langton has been training hard for competition and hopes to have a great time in Athens.
Gymnastics coach Natalie Upshall will go to Greece to coach the gymnastics team, although Gympie doesn't have any gymnasts in the side this year. Upshall will travel with the Gympie representatives to Athens, but on arrival will join the Australian gymnastic team.
She said she would keep in contact with the Gympie athletes at their host town.