Heaven White, 16, of Brooklyn, takes aim during the archery...

Heaven White, 16, of Brooklyn, takes aim during the archery competition Saturday with the assistance of volunteer Ed Kaspshak at the Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged in Uniondale. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

As 9-year-old Samantha Luongo neared the finish line of the 60-meter wheelchair race, cheers and applause rose to a crescendo.

Luongo raced alongside Timothy Mui, 21, of Queens, on Saturday, the second day of the Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged. The annual event draws hundreds of athletes to Mitchel Field Athletic Complex in Uniondale.

“Let’s go Sammy! Let’s go Timmy!” spectators yelled, encouraging the two across the finish line.

Samantha, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 1, had little down time during the two-day competition, trying everything from basketball to the soft discus.

“Yeah, I’m tired. I’ll admit that,” she said after sipping a cup of water at the track’s finish line.

On Friday, she even dove into the pool to swim at Nassau Community College.

“I felt like I was in the real Olympics,” Samantha said.

Her mother, Kim Luongo, of Wantagh, added: “She’s conquering the world one step at a time.”

The free event, which has been held for more than three decades, provides an opportunity for children of all ages with varying disabilities to showcase their skills in front of cheering crowds. Athletes compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. The youngsters compete at varying times and the results are later tabulated to sort winners based on age and disabilities.

Saturday’s competition took place in the shadow of the nearby Men’s T20 cricket World Cup at Eisenhower Park, where the 12-day international tournament began with a warm-up match.

For many of the physically challenged athletes, the games have become an annual tradition.

Many of the volunteers return each year as well, drawn to the inspiration of seeing kids who face many challenges in life overcome obstacles.

Taylor Boyle, 26, of Manorville, said she was inspired to become a special education teacher after volunteering at the games since she was a student in the Longwood school district, which helps run the track events each year.

“This day, the joy that it brings to each athlete that is here, is why we come back,” she said.

Each year, she said, it’s like “coming back to family” when she’s reacquainted with athletes.

Boyle helped guide kids through the slalom, a type of obstacle course. Late Saturday morning, Boyle saw the familiar face of 16-year-old Hailey Amato, of Ridge.

Hailey had just finished running track events before heading over to the slalom.

Lisa Amato, Hailey’s mother, said her daughter has been participating in the games since kindergarten. Hailey was born with a rare genetic disorder called 10q26 deletion syndrome.

“She loves to run,” Amato said. “It’s such a great feeling coming here seeing all the athletes compete.”

After the track events wrapped up Saturday, several athletes competed in the long jump. Those who were capable could even try archery.

Patrick Bergin, of Woodside, helped guide his 9-year-old daughter Paige as she raced down the track in a wheelchair to complete a 200-meter race. A day earlier, she used her walker to compete in the 100-meter race.

Paige pushed to use her walker in the longer race as well, but her father noted “it’s a long journey for her,” so they opted for the wheelchair.

“She’s determined,” the father said.

As 9-year-old Samantha Luongo neared the finish line of the 60-meter wheelchair race, cheers and applause rose to a crescendo.

Luongo raced alongside Timothy Mui, 21, of Queens, on Saturday, the second day of the Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged. The annual event draws hundreds of athletes to Mitchel Field Athletic Complex in Uniondale.

“Let’s go Sammy! Let’s go Timmy!” spectators yelled, encouraging the two across the finish line.

Samantha, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 1, had little down time during the two-day competition, trying everything from basketball to the soft discus.

“Yeah, I’m tired. I’ll admit that,” she said after sipping a cup of water at the track’s finish line.

On Friday, she even dove into the pool to swim at Nassau Community College.

“I felt like I was in the real Olympics,” Samantha said.

Owen Pinto, left, competes in the 40-yard dash along with...

Owen Pinto, left, competes in the 40-yard dash along with Hailey Amato and Logan Lopez at the Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Her mother, Kim Luongo, of Wantagh, added: “She’s conquering the world one step at a time.”

The free event, which has been held for more than three decades, provides an opportunity for children of all ages with varying disabilities to showcase their skills in front of cheering crowds. Athletes compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. The youngsters compete at varying times and the results are later tabulated to sort winners based on age and disabilities.

Saturday’s competition took place in the shadow of the nearby Men’s T20 cricket World Cup at Eisenhower Park, where the 12-day international tournament began with a warm-up match.

For many of the physically challenged athletes, the games have become an annual tradition.

Many of the volunteers return each year as well, drawn to the inspiration of seeing kids who face many challenges in life overcome obstacles.

Taylor Boyle, 26, of Manorville, said she was inspired to become a special education teacher after volunteering at the games since she was a student in the Longwood school district, which helps run the track events each year.

“This day, the joy that it brings to each athlete that is here, is why we come back,” she said.

Each year, she said, it’s like “coming back to family” when she’s reacquainted with athletes.

Boyle helped guide kids through the slalom, a type of obstacle course. Late Saturday morning, Boyle saw the familiar face of 16-year-old Hailey Amato, of Ridge.

Hailey had just finished running track events before heading over to the slalom.

Lisa Amato, Hailey’s mother, said her daughter has been participating in the games since kindergarten. Hailey was born with a rare genetic disorder called 10q26 deletion syndrome.

“She loves to run,” Amato said. “It’s such a great feeling coming here seeing all the athletes compete.”

After the track events wrapped up Saturday, several athletes competed in the long jump. Those who were capable could even try archery.

Patrick Bergin, of Woodside, helped guide his 9-year-old daughter Paige as she raced down the track in a wheelchair to complete a 200-meter race. A day earlier, she used her walker to compete in the 100-meter race.

Paige pushed to use her walker in the longer race as well, but her father noted “it’s a long journey for her,” so they opted for the wheelchair.

“She’s determined,” the father said.

A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Daddona / Pfost / Villa Loarca

Uncovering the truth about the chemical drums A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports.

A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Daddona / Pfost / Villa Loarca

Uncovering the truth about the chemical drums A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports.

Latest Videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME