Special Olympic athletes Ruby Lawler and Adam Knust are looking forward to representing Australia in swimming.
Special Olympic athletes Ruby Lawler and Adam Knust are looking forward to representing Australia in swimming. Mike Richards

Special Olympians ready to represent Gladstone at games

GLADSTONE will have a strong contingent of athletes and officials representing Australia in the inaugural Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games.

The games will be held in a fortnight in Newcastle, with Gladstone's Adam Knust, 21, and 19-year-old Ruby Lawler representing Australia in swimming.

Football team support, and Adam's mother Debbie Knust, said the swimmers and five officials from the Gladstone region were heading down to Newcastle from December 1-7.

"Australia won the bid to host them and we've got 400 athletes competing with 2000 altogether across 32 nations," she said.

Adam and Ruby had their official uniform presentation at CQ University on Friday night, with onlookers also recording a message that will be played on the big screen to cheer on the athletes.

Adam has been part of the Special Olympics for more than a decade in a range of sports from football, basketball, tennis and sailing.

But it wasn't until his family came to Gladstone in January 2011 that he began swimming.

"He represented Queensland in the soccer last year and came back with a gold medal…he's quite athletic," Ms Knust said.

Ruby is most looking forward to marching into the stadium with the rest of Team Australia, and her first swim at the games.

"I'm nervous because it's going to be a big competition with a lot of people, but I'm excited because I'm loving it!" she said.

"I like swimming because it's good for my fitness and I enjoy the competition and meeting all the friends, and achieving things."

The athletes are still looking for sponsorship to enable them to compete.