The Specially Fit Foundation, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to mentoring athletes with developmental disabilities, helped host the largest cash prize special needs and adaptive competition in Florida called the Clang & Bang Games. A total of 67 powerlifters from all over the state came to Treasure Island Beach to compete.
“This event is about giving athletes with special needs the opportunity to win more than a ribbon or a medal,” said Mark Oliver, CEO of the Specially Fit Foundation and host of the event. “They competed to receive a paycheck just like any other professional athlete. I believe this event can spark enough awareness and attention where these athletes can make a living from competing in the future.”
Every athlete won at least $50, and the top lifters won $700. A total of $8,000 was awarded at the event. Several Riverview residents competed in the event, including powerlifter Kyle Wilson and his brother, Korey Wilson.
“I was impressed by the number of people that attended the event and proud of myself for being able to lift the weights,” said Kyle. “Last but not least, I felt excited and rewarded by earning $50 because I have never received a monetary reward at an event before.”
The event left a good impression on the athletes, including Riverview resident Omaries Rivera.
“It was fun to compete with my friends,” said Rivera. “This was my first competition where I’ve won money.”
According to Oliver, the weather was cold and windy, but this did not stop the athletes from showcasing their talents. He said that the purpose of this event was to provide a platform in front of thousands of people to show that these athletes have abilities just like everyone else.
“It felt good to compete in front of a large audience and win $300,” said Specially Fit athlete Ben Greer. “Now I can save the money to help buy equipment to work out more. I want to thank my coaches, teammates and Specially Fit for helping all these special athletes. This was one of the best experiences of my life.”
For more information on upcoming events, visit www.speciallyfitfoundation.com.