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Special Olympics set for Thursday at MHS

By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
March 28, 2001
The 2001 Special Olympics Area 5 Track and Field Games will be held Thursday at Meridian High's Ray Stadium.
Over 400 mentally and physically challenged athletes from the surrounding area will put on an exhibition, competing in more than 25 events designed to bring out the abilities and showcase the talents of these special athletes.
The Games are slated to begin at 9:30 a.m.
Some of the events scheduled are the 50 meter dash, the 100 meter walk, 25 meter wheelchair race, 10 meter unassisted walk, 10 meter assisted wheelchair dash, long jump, shot put and softball throw.
Each person that participates will receive a ribbon.
Whitlock also added that these unique competitors also receive the hugs and cheers that are so important and are a trademark to these Games.
Participating Special Olympic contestants from Area 5 are from Lauderdale, Kemper, Newton and Clarke Counties.
Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The Area Director is Pat Barber.
Whitlock added that those athletes that excel in their respective events will move on to compete in the State Summer Special Olympic Games held in Biloxi.
The beginning of the program will feature local law enforcement officers assisting with the usual torch run, much like a real Olympic torch run and lighting ceremony, followed by the athletes taking part in the Special Olympic Oath.
No one affiliated with Special Olympics is paid, including coaches.
The organization requests that anyone wishing to come out and be a spectator, please register via a sign-up sheet at the front gate.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rdark@themeridianstar.com.