Special Olympians Set For Fall Contest

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The Rim country will be represented by 15 athletes at the 2004 Special Olympic Arizona Fall Championships Oct. 8 and 9 in Scottsdale, Phoenix and Sun City.

Many of the local Special Olympians will participate in the aquatics competition at El Dorado Park where the Olympic Village also will be located.

More than 950 athletes from around the state are expected to participate in the championships.

In addition to aquatics, competition in golf, softball and bocce ball also will be held.

Bocce will be contested in the Sun Dial Recreation Center in Sun City; softball will be played in El Dorado Park; and golf is set for the Vistal Golf Course.

Opening ceremonies begin at 7:15 p.m. Oct. 8 in Scottsdale Stadium. Stu Evans of KMLE will serve as master of ceremonies.

Among those scheduled to perform will be Glen Campbell and the Good Time Band.

The Special Olympics motto of "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt," is traditionally a part of the opening ceremonies.

Following the opening ceremonies, a victory dance will be held.

Payson Special Olympics coach Becky Derwort said the team will be participating in all of the ceremonies as well as the competition.

The Payson team has been practicing for the past two months in preparation for the games.

All people with development disabilities, regardless of ability level, may participate in the programs and sports offered by Special Olympics in Payson and around Arizona. Individuals are eligible for training and competition beginning at 8 years old.

Currently there are more than 7,000 Special Olympians in Arizona and more than one million worldwide in more than 140 nations.

The goal of the Special Olympics program in Payson, and in Arizona, is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympic athletes and the community.

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