A Party in Mexico Leads Joaquin Gomez to the World Games in Ireland
By Freda Kambangula, 14, and Chantell Van Wyk, 13
Scholastic News Online Student Reporters, Namibia, Africa

Joaquin Gomez (third from left) talks to Global Youth Summit members Chantell Van Wyk and her partner, Freda Kambangula, (left) at the AUL soccer fields in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo: Charles Nyambe)
The 11 A-side soccer games were a thrill to watch at the AUL fields on June 22 in Dublin, Ireland. The intensity of the games was surprising, as if they have already reached the final stage. At the conclusion of the games on Sunday, 20-year-old Mexican soccer athlete Joaquin Gomez, 30, was kind enough to share some of his experiences so far at the 2003 Special Olympics World Games.

Joaquin comes from a family of four and regrets that his family was unable to join him in Dublin. This is the third time he has been involved in the Games. He says his participation in Special Olympics is a rare opportunity in his life.

He first got involved in Special Olympics when someone at a party invited him to attend a Special Olympics training. Since then, Special Olympics has been very important to him.

At this year's Games, he has had great fun, especially at the opening ceremonies where he was able to see former South African President Nelson Mandela and other celebrities. He will treasure these memories, he said. He has also enjoyed the beautiful landscape of Ireland. Jaoqin spoke highly of the general attitude and friendly approach of the local people and wishes he could stay much longer in Ireland. "I hope to come back for a visit one day in life," he told Scholastic News Online.

Apart from soccer, Joaquin takes part in a sport similar to kickboxing.