THREE Gympie athletes have returned laden with medals from the Special Olympics Junior Nationals in Runaway Bay last week.
Jasmine Hunt, 11, took out a gold in the 100m walk, silver in the long jump and 4x100m relay, bronze in the 100m sprint, and bronze in division two football.
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Cody Kendall, 12, grabbed a silver in the 100m team relay, silver in the 50m sprint, bronze in shotput, fourth in the 100m walk, and fourth in soccer.
Georgia Nugent, 12, also brought home a bagful, with a silver in the 200m run, silver in the 3kg shotput, silver in the 100m team relay, fourth in the 100m sprint, and fourth in the division two football.
Georgia was also picked to carry the Queensland flag at the closing ceremony.
The athletes' coach, Natalie Upshall expressed how impressed she was with the way the athletes competed.
"It has proven that with regular positive training methods athletes can compete and succeed at all levels,” she said.
"All of our athletes achieved personal bests and bought home a swag full of medals.
"It is simply amazing to see how these athletes overcome so many hurdles. Many of these athletes are competing for the first time, and staying with the team away from their families for the duration of the games.”
Ms Upshall said the program allows athletes to develop skills and form friendships.
"Special Olympics provides the program for athletes with disabilities to compete but it is the incredible support from volunteer coaches and families that make these games a total success,” she said.
"For me, I take great pride in knowing that working with these athletes helps them develop incredible life skills and long friendships.”
Cody Kendall said he enjoyed the event.
"I was really hoping to get a first (gold) but I did the best I could. It doesn't really matter how you go as long as you have fun,” he said.
"I liked watching the kids from all over Australia. They were really good at soccer.
"I found it really exciting and fun. It was like being on school camp.
"The disco for the athletes, making new friends, everything.”
Jasmine Hunt said she was thrilled with her effort and looks forward to competing again.
"It was great; my first race I won and didn't think I could do that,” she said.
"It was good and I had so much fun.
"The closing ceremony was where we had a disco and met new friends.
"Pretty good;” I had fun and tried my hardest.”
Georgia Nugent agreed with her friends.
"It was great, I had a great time and it was lots of fun,” she said.
"I got three silver medals and I loved competing against all the kids from everywhere in Australia.”
Georgia said her highlights were making new friends, the disco and carrying the flag for Queensland for the closing ceremony.
"I did my best and had fun and I'm happy with my medals,” she said.