Athletes wanted for annual Area III Special Olympics
Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2015
According to the Special Olympics Mississippi website, children and adults with intellectual disabilities who participate in Special Olympics develop improved fitness, motor skills, self-confidence and a more positive self-image.
The participants not only grow mentally, socially and spiritually, but also exhibit courage and enthusiasm. They also reap the benefits of friendship and discover new abilities, talents and their voices, the website states.
Currently, Area III Special Olympics representatives are taking applications for their annual Special Olympics Track and Field Competitions to be held on March 21 at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center.
Since the 1980s, NASA has hosted this event, NASA Public Affairs Team Lead Paul Foerman said. This year’s event is coordinated by the Naval Research Lab and all agencies and companies at Stennis participate.
“It’s our way of supporting our community,” Foerman said. “The athletes look forward to it every year. This event is a prelude to the state games that are held at Biloxi’s Keesler Air Force Base.”
The games are open to athletes in Pearl River, Hancock, Harrison and Stone counties, Foerman said.
The release states that in order to be eligible to compete, athletes must be at least 8-years-old, be mentally handicapped and have a current medical form on file with Special Olympics.
Events, based on those in the world Olympics, include the opening ceremony, parade of athletes, bocce ball, volleyball, wheelchair races, assisted walks, badminton, basketball, standing and running long jumps, shot put, and 50 to 400 meter dashes.
Katherine Clough is a shift supervisor at Bridgeway Apartments, an assisted living facility in Picayune.
This will be her first year serving as the Area III director, but she is no stranger to the Olympic-like competition, having volunteered at both state and summer games over the past few years.
According to Clough, athletes may register for the event through their school’s special education office or by contacting Clough at 601-358-2305 or sending an email to Katherine.firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Each participant must undergo a physical and complete a release form,” Clough said. “The audience at this event is very appreciative and the athletes love participating in this event. The whole event gives you warm and fuzzy feelings.”
The deadline for athlete registration is Feb. 20.
Anyone wishing to volunteer may register at the Area III website at http://specialolympics.goldinc.com/, Clough said.
Learn more about the event through Facebook at Area III Stennis Special Olympics.
Learn more about Special Olympics Mississippi at www.specialolympicsms.org.