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  • Athletes with disabilities from across Ecuador participated in the games.

    Athletes with disabilities from across Ecuador participated in the games. | Photo: Andes

"No other country has organized a similar tournament before," said Nicolas Cueva, of the Special Olympics Ecuador Foundation.

The city of Manta hosted the first Special Olympics Beach Games in Ecuador, with 400 athletes with disabilities participating from across the country.

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The games were held from Nov. 9-12 and had competitions in beach soccer, handball, swimming, and athletism, among other events.

"We welcome all of Ecuador ... we will surely learn from the great willingness of athletes to reach their goals, welcome everyone," said Manta Mayor Jorge Zambrano.

Athletes from 20 provinces of the country participated in the hopes of training and qualifying for international events such as the International Paralympic Games.

"No other country has organized a similar tournament before," said Nicolas Cueva, of the Special Olympics Ecuador Foundation.

The local government of Manta provided food, lodging, and transportation for the competitors, in a city still affected by the 2016 earthquake.

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"We chose this port that, a year and a half after the earthquake, has risen with a lot of work from its people," Cueva said.

John Cuenca, a 15-year-old handball competitor, told El Telegrafo in sign language after his province Santo Domingo won, that he dedicated his victory to his mother.

His coach Jose Pico said the event was filled with emotion, "but the most important part is to see the capacity of these guys."

The games were held on the Murcielago Beach and the Olympic standard pool in the city.


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