STAMFORD, Conn. -- At age 16, Stamford's Maya Todrin has already tasted competition at the national level. This weekend, she will take part again in the state's Special Olympics Summer Games.
She will be competing in singles tennis and unified tennis, where she will be paired up with her non-Special Olympian partner Kyra Fitzpatrick.
"I like playing tennis with my partner Kyra," she said. "It is a lot of fun. I like being part of the team."
Fitzpatrick, a senior at Darien High School, is the daughter of Barbara Fitzpatrick, one of Maya's two coaches at the Darien Lions. Her other coach is Lyn Nevin.
The summer games begin Friday with the opening ceremony and continue on Saturday and Sunday in New Haven and Hamden where competitions will be staged.
About 2,500 Special Olympian and "Unified" athletes will participate along with more than 500 coaches and almost 3,000 volunteers, according to the games' website.
This will mark Maya's third state Summer Games, her mother Hildi said. Last year she was one of about 100 state Special Olympians chosen to participate in the National Summer Games that were held in Princeton, N.J.
Maya has also been chosen to be one of 60 global ambassadors in the state for Special Olympics, which means that she attends functions and events to represent the organization. Last year, she was among a number of Special Olympians chosen to ring the closing bell at NASDAQ.
"She's done some pretty cool things," her mother said.
Maya has been involved in tennis for many years but has also played other sports and is a black belt in karate, Hildi said.
Special Olympics are special for Maya because she is able to meet new and old friends, Hildi said.
"It is not about winning and losing. It is about having fun," she said.
Her mother said that Maya not only enjoys playing but also supporting her teammates from the sidelines.
"She's a big cheerleader for everyone."
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