Special Olympics To Compete in Big Event

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Published on April 15 2013 1:47 pm
Last Updated on April 15 2013 1:47 pm
Written by Millie Lange

Families, volunteers and spectators will be cheering on men and women, boys and girls -- all Special Olympics athletes -- as they compete in the largest area event of the year for Special Olympics Illinois East Central Area 9. The annual Spring Games take place Friday, April 26 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m at O'Brien Stadium at EIU in Charleston. The public is invited to watch the competition and experience the joy of achievement by Special Olympics athletes. Area 9 is composed of Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland,Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland and Shelby counties.

At the area 9 Spring Games, approximately 455 athletes are expected to compete in athletics (track & field), the most popular of 19 sports offered by Special Olympics Illinois. The event begins at 9 a.m. with Opening Ceremonies. Competition follows and will conclude around 3 p.m. All athletes will march in the parade of athletes and recite the Speical Olympics oath. The running of the torch with the "Flame of Hope" and the lighting of the cauldron signifies the opening of the games.

Athletes will compete in the 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 meter runs, standing and running long jumps, shot put, tennis and softball throw, wheelchair competitions and assisted races. Athletes compete in division by gender and abilty levels.

Athletes who win a gold medal at area games qualify to compete in the Special Olympics Illinois State Summer Games June 4-16 on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal.