The Payson Special Olympics team that captured almost 40 medals at a track and field meet April 16 at Mesa High School is primed and ready for Arizona state finals.
At Mesa, the Payson team captured nine gold, seven silver, 12 bronze, seven fourth-place and four-fifth place medals.
With the medals in tow, the team advances to the 35th Annual Special Olympic Arizona Summer Games May 6 to 8 on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe. More than 1,500 athletes from throughout the state are expected to participate. About 1,000 volunteers and coaches also will be on hand.
According to Special Olympics officials, the state-level competition is one of the largest amateur sporting events in Arizona. The state games mark the conclusion of year-round training and competition for Special Olympians.
Events at the state games include track and field, indoor athletics, powerlifting, tennis and softball throw.
The Payson contingent is expected to be on hand at 7 p.m. May 7 when the opening ceremonies at Sun Angel stadium kick off the annual Olympics. The ceremonies will be hosted by Kevin McCabe.
In addition to Sun Angel stadium, competition will be in Wells Fargo Arena and the Whiteman Tennis Facility on the ASU campus. An Olympic Village also will be set up on campus.
Competition continues until 6 p.m. May 8 when the closing ceremonies and victory dance will be held in the Wells Fargo Arena.
Special Olympics Arizona provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in 20 different sports for more than 7,000 adults and children with mental retardation throughout the state of Arizona.