A tennis player from the Bronx is headed to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens this summer, and could use a little bit of help from his community.
David Vizcaino, 26, of Castle Hill, will be one of just 11 competitors from New York State who will be participating in the Special Olympics Summer World Games 2011 in Athens, Greece, along with 314 members of the Special Olympic’s Team U.S.A., who will compete against other athletes from 185 countries around the world from June 25 to July 4.
The tennis player recently traveled to San Diego, California to train and meet his partner in doubles tennis. He is already an accomplished Special Olympics Athlete, having won over 30 medals, with eight in tennis. “I have the desire to compete because I want to be active,” Vizcaino said. “I like to play sports I know and try new ones, and it is my passion not to win, but rather to have fun and earn respect for myself and my teammates.”
Vizcaino trains at the Special Olympics training camp at Lehman College, and only began playing tennis shortly after graduating from the Westchester School for Special Children in Yonkers in 2006.
While growing up, he competed in many different sports, including basketball, floor hockey, and softball, and decided that he wanted to continue on with the Special Olympics.
His coaches, Marie Mills and Carol Allen, told him while he was training at Lehman that he had been selected for the World Games.
“I am counting down the days until Athens,” Vizcaino said. “I am very excited about traveling and seeing another country.”
One of the things he hopes to accomplish before opening ceremonies, which resemble that of the Summer Olympic Games, is to develop good chemistry with his doubles tennis partner so that the competition proves fruitful.
The Special Olympics is asking for donations to help defray the cost of sending David to the games. Typically, costs run about $8,500 per athlete, according to Special Olympics New York.
“Our athletes are not charged to participate, and we are one of the few amateur athletic organizations in the world that can say that,” said Jamie DePasquale of Special Olympics New York. “We are working with community groups, schools and local businesses, as well as other non-profits, to send this large delegation to Greece.”
To make a tax-deductible contribution, call (212) 661-5217.