WEST ALEXANDRIA — Preble County Special Olympics Track and Field Day was held at Twin Valley South Community Local Schools on Saturday, May 4. During the event, 65 athletes showed off their skills and took part in various competitions.
According to Special Olympics Coordinator Regina Fullmer, Preble County Special Olympics is an organization for the Developmentally Disabled run solely by volunteers and supported totally by donations from business and families in the area. It is for anyone who is school age through 101.
During the event on Saturday, individuals as young as eight participated as well as some as old as 79.
Track and Field Day includes the standing long jump, running long jump, bean bag toss, tennis ball throw, shot put, softball throw, 10 meter assisted walk race, 30 meter wheelchair slalom unassisted race, 50 meter wheelchair race assisted, 50 meter wheelchair race unassisted, 30 meter wheelchair slalom assisted, 50, 100 and 200 meter running races, 25 Meter Assisted Walk, 400 Meter Walking Race, 800 Meter Walking Race, 100 Meter Walking Race, Team Relay 4 x 100 Meter Relay, and 4 X 400 Meter Relay Race.
This event is held annually to celebrate individuals with developmental disabilities and their abilities.
“[We want to] show their abilities and to make the community aware that the individuals can and should be a part of the community. They deserve to have the chance to show their abilities and to socialize with their friends,” Fullmer said. “[I hope the public learns] that the Developmentally Disabled Community wants to be included in their world also. There is so much that they have to offer and they don’t want to be labeled for what they can’t do but what they can do.”
The turn-out for participants was the same as past years, but due to the dreary weather there were not as many spectators. The weather also caused the organization to postpone the annual awards ceremony. Special Olympics plans to present awards within the next two weeks on an evening with a pizza party.
However, despite the weather, every track and field event was completed during the day.
“[We want to thank] all of the volunteers, it couldn’t be accomplished without them. We had several new volunteers this year which we were very thankful for. Each athlete has a volunteer buddy for the day along with volunteers to run the events, parade, and registration. This event (all of our events) is completely done by volunteers and donations only,” Fullmer said.
“We are looking to starting a special Olympics bowling team. We are looking for a coach, again this is volunteer only. There is about 30 hours of training required before one can become a Special Olympics coach, along with a having a background check completed.”
Special Olympics Preble County has several events throughout the year which includes a formal dance in the late fall, a Bowling Party in September, and the annual Cougars vs. Generals basketball game held in March. There is a softball team, a basketball team, a skills team and a cheerleading squad. Anyone can participate.
Special Olympics is always looking for volunteers and donations. For more information, contact SpecialOlympicsPrebleCounty@gmail.com or Special Olympics, P.O.Box 273, Eaton, OH 45320.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH