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Cobequid athletes garner medals, special memories at World Games


Four year ago, Jessie Stewart was afraid of the water. Today, she’s a gold medal-winning swimmer.
Stewart, who lives in Lantz and swims with Special Olympics Cobequid, earned the medal in the 4-by-25m freestyle relay at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi in March. She was the only Nova Scotia swimmer competing.
“I never thought I would do that well,” said the 24-year-old. “When I first went to the pool I was afraid. Now I swim every week.”
During the games she made new friends and reconnected with an old friend she hadn’t seen for a while. She also enjoyed visiting a theme park and riding a camel.
“There were very nice people there,” she said. “They like Canadians. 
“It was exciting to get a medal, and it was really nice to see new people, get better and travel."
Stewart spent several years in foster homes, and said it was a struggle, but she’s now in a group home and enjoying her work and social life.
“I want to keep working hard so maybe I can to do something like this again sometime," she said.
Truro track athlete Anthony James brought home a silver medal for his performance in the 4-by-100m relay and recorded personal best times in individual events.
“It was exciting to get a medal, but even if I didn’t I would have been happy,” he said. “I had a blast. The medal is a bonus; it doesn’t always come, and you don’t need it as long as you have fun. You have to be a good winner and a good loser.
“I shook hands with the other athletes and wished them good luck. My coach told me that was the golden performance.”
James made some new friends during the games and got to try a few new foods.
“Some people thought the food was too spicy, but I like spices,” he said. 
“I saw a lot of sand and a lot of tall buildings. They make our buildings look like ants. There were a lot of light shows on buildings too, so that looked nice.”
He was happy to pet a camel but declined a ride, preferring to keep his feet on the ground.
He didn’t mind the 13-hour plane trip – even though they experienced turbulence – as he was able to listen to music and movies and play games.
“It was a great trip,” he said. “I’m going to work hard and hope I qualify for the next national games.”

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