SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Billy Duthie, a 23-year-old Scotch Plains resident, will be competing in the Special Olympics this weekend. Not only is Duthie an excellent athlete, he is a model of good sportsmanship.

During a regional qualifier race this year, the athlete competed against a friend he had met the year before. “I didn’t even know that until after the race,” Duthie explained. “After the race I went up to congratulate him because he had beaten me, and we ended up hugging.”

Duthie participates in the 400-meter dash and the javelin toss. He has received a gold medal for javelin every year he has competed. He is looking forward to the event with enthusiasm.

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Leading up to the weekend, Duthie has been training every week. He practices with his coaches Carol and Chaz Hutchinson and runs outside. He also works out at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA in preparation for the big weekend.

Duthie has made a number of friends through the program and tries to keep in touch with them. This is part of the the reason he comes back each year.

“It’s a great experience,” expressed Duthie. “You get to compete against different people every year and you get to make new friends.”

Nearly 2,500 Special Olympics athletes from throughout New Jersey will compete in the sports of aquatics, bocce, gymnastics, powerlifting, softball, tennis, and track & field this weekend. They will be joined by hundreds of coaches, volunteers, family members, friends and spectators for the 2016 Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games. 

Theee mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Special Olympics is founded on the belief that people with intellectual disabilities can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sports, adapted as necessary to meet the needs of those with special intellectual and physical limitations. For more information on the events, or to donate visit http://www.sonj.org/.