Fenton Duo with Amazing Bond Take Home Gold Medal at the USA Special Olympics
It was truly a match made in golf course heaven. Two friends from Fenton left their mark by taking home the gold medal in golf at this year's Special Olympics USA Games, but it's their lifelong friendship that is truly the win.
AliKhan Amlani and Kurt Chapelle have known each other since they were kids growing up as neighbors. The two have been playing golf together for the past 5 years, and Chapelle served as Amlani's unified partner for this years Special Olympics USA Games last week in Orlando, Florida. Together they were able to outplay the competition and take home the gold medal making them Michigan’s first podium finish in unified golf.
Cheering from home during the competition was Amlani's younger sister Karima who couldn't be prouder of her big brother, and not too surprised by his success.
"This was their first year competing together in Special Olympics, but AliKhan has competed in special Olympics many times over the years in different sports, with the greatest success in golf", she told us. "His success represents so much of his life. This is a man who nothing comes easy to, nothing. Everything you see, even thought patterns or tasks that would be basic for you and I are challenging for him. He is the hardest working person I’ve ever encountered. He’s always had an interest in athletics and would compete in special Olympics locally in any sport he could…. Everything from Polly Hockey, to soccer, to figure skating. Just to enjoy the sport of it."
As for Kurt Chapelle, who scored his first hole in one during the competition, the whole experience has been a moving one, and one he'll never forget.
"Going into it, by goal was just to make sure AliKhan enjoyed every single moment of it, and not worrying about if we won or not. He's family to me. Watching him at the opening ceremony was unbelievable, he was on cloud nine. Coming out of the tunnel he was like he was running out for the super bowl. After we got the medals he just put his arms around me, hugged me, and whispered, 'I love you so much Kurt'," Chapelle told us in a interview.
So what's next for the pair? Chapelle says now the goal is to be selected to compete at the Special Olympics World Games 2023 to be held in Germany next June. Hopefully with an entire community, and the state, behind them there's another gold medal in their future.