The City Council lauded Aquanaut Valeria van Balen for her dual silver medal wins in the 2016 Trisome Games in Florence, Italy. One of four swimmers on Team USA, Valeria posted impressive times of 1:44 in the 100m and 0:45 in the 50m women’s freestyle events to earn silver medals.
An ardent competitor, Valeria has shown herself to be at home in the water, winning a silver medal in Stand Up Paddleboard at the 2015 Miami-Dade Special Olympics and beating her personal best to earn a gold medal for that event in 2016. Equally competitive in terrestrial sports, Valeria earned a bronze medal in tennis and a silver medal in golf at the Florida State Special Olympics.
“Valeria is an inspiration to everyone,” remarked Councilwoman Sandra Ruiz. “She embodies what can be done by determination, dedication and supportive parents. It is my pleasure to see that her accomplishments are known throughout Doral,” she added.
The World Trisome Games, dedicated exclusively to athletes with Down syndrome, ran for the first time in Florence, Italy from July 15th to 22nd, featuring athletes from 35 nations competing in events such as swimming, synchronized swimming, athletics, tennis, table tennis, judo and gymnastics. Organized by the Sports Union for Athletes with Down Syndrome (SU-DS), the SU-DS has approached the International Paralympic Committee for it to be a new class within the Paralympic games.