After losing funding, New Mexico unable to send athletes to national Special Olympics
January 06, 2018 10:13 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The National Special Olympic Games kick off in six months, and every state in the nation will be represented – except for New Mexico.
The decision comes after Special Olympics New Mexico lost all state funding this year, and couldn't do enough in time to make up for it.
"We've been doing this for so many years," said Special Olympian Shiv Patel. "We're used to competing against each other. So for it to not happen anymore, it would be pretty sad."
Randy Mascorella, executive director for Special Olympics NM, said they lost their contract with the state's Department of Health, amounting to a loss of about $310,000.
It represented 30 percent of the organization's budget. Despite their best fundraising efforts, they came up short.
“One of the hard decisions was taking a look at what we do and eliminating those things we do that impact the least number of athletes,” Mascorella said.
They'll keep the state games, allowing some 3,300 athletes to compete. But they've had to sacrifice the meals they provide those athletes, and are raising team registration fees.
“We're just hoping that in all of those games, it doesn't impact the number of athletes that come,” Mascorella said.
As for the future of New Mexicans participating in the Special Olympics, the challenge continues.
“Moving forward I can't tell you what it will look like," Mascorella said. "But I can tell you this – we're not going anywhere."
Updated: January 06, 2018 10:13 PM
Created: January 06, 2018 04:32 PM
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