Teen swaps crocodile-infested river for gold at Special Olympics World Games - GulfToday

Teen swaps crocodile-infested river for gold at Special Olympics World Games

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Yuliana Mora celebrates her victory.

ABU DHABI: From learning how to swim in a river filled with crocodiles to winning a gold medal at Special Olympics World Games, Yuliana Mora has come a long way.

The 15-year-old Special Olympics athlete from Costa Rica won gold in the 400 metres swimming competition held at Dubai’s Hamdan Sports Complex on Friday.

“There is no swimming pool where she lives,” said the official. “She trained in a river close to her house. Her parents helped her as there were crocodiles in it.

“First her parents would get into the river and check if there are crocodiles and only after all is clear they would let Yuliana in to do her training.”

The official added that Mora quickly stood out as one of the best Special Olympics athletes in Costa Rica after impressing national swimming coaches.

“Yuliana represented her province, Puntarenas, in the national Special Olympics games and came first in the swimming competition and that’s how she came to represent her country,” said the team official.

“She has been training for the past year in a swimming pool for this competition.”

After her stunning victory in Dubai, a tearful Mora dedicated her gold medal to her parents back home in Costa Rica.

More than 7,500 athletes from over 190 nations are competing in the games which is dubbed as the largest sports and humanitarian event of the year.

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