LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - When the World Special Olympics get underway next week in the United Arab Emirates, a Southwest Louisiana native will be competing.
Kirby Oertling has been preparing for the competition at St. Louis Catholic High School.
“I think I’m ready,” said Kirby. “I want to prove to not just Louisiana, but everybody that you can do this to have fun. It’s not just about winning and losing. You can just go and have fun and meet other people.”
Kirby's dad is also his coach, Jason Oertling.
“We’ve had such a great experience with the local Special Olympics,” said Jason. “Then to have an opportunity this past summer to go to Seattle, we just thought that was a dream come true. Then a few months later, for Kirby to be invited to the World Games was something we couldn’t even imagine.”
Kirby took part in the USA Special Olympics last summer in Seattle.
“It was great to watch him as an athlete,” said Kirby’s dad. “But it was even better as a dad to watch him support the other competitors. That made me more proud than any high jump he did, or shot put, or 100. So, it was incredible to watch him get along with everyone and that’s what makes him special.”
While the opening ceremonies take place in Abu Dhabi, the the track and field events will take place in Dubai. Kirby says he’s ready.
“You don’t want to tell them, ‘Sorry you lost’ or anything like that. You want to be a good sport and cheer them on when you finish the race or you finish the shot. You just want to congratulate them as much as you can.”
Kirby will be participating in five track and field events, including the Pentathlon and shot put.