Sarah Kovacs has a busy day ahead of her as the 2019 Special Olympics World Games competitions come to a close Wednesday in the United Arab Emirates.
The Special Olympics Southern California runner will compete in a pair of races, the 800 meters and a 4×100-meter relay, as she looks for her first medal of the Games. She placed sixth in the 1,500 meters on March 16.
Much like last summer’s USA Games in Seattle, Sarah is taking in the experience alongside her father, Tom. Among the challenges this time around, however, is adjusting her “biological clock” to the 11-hour time difference.
“She’s been practicing very hard, working out almost every day,” Tom said. “Hopefully it will culminate with just being able to do her very best.
“She’s looking forward to the competition.”
The USA Games competition gave Sarah the opportunity to connect with a number of Southern California athletes. To now compete in an international setting, as part of a Special Olympics USA delegation that features more than 200 athletes from around the country, it’s another select group she is grateful to be a part of.
“She’s meeting so many more friends from around the U.S. and finding out what it’s like for them,” Tom said.
He credits Special Olympics for the growth and development in Sarah’s social skills that have “boosted her confidence tremendously” and complemented the sportsmanship she brings into each event.
“She’s more outgoing,” Tom added. “She’s usually very friendly, but now she’s even more friendly.
“Whether it’s a local, a regional or a huge meet, whenever she finishes she usually turns around and starts cheering on the [other runners].”