Special Olympics in town

Published 12:42 am Saturday, April 12, 2008

NATCHEZ — Area Special Olympics athletes got the chance to show their stuff Friday afternoon at Natchez High School.

The school hosted the Mississippi Area 7 Special Olympics Meet, which consisted of several different events.

Participants from Adams, Jefferson and Wilkinson counties, ages 7 through approximately 40 competed in events such as wheelchair races, softball throw, long jump, 100 meter dash, 50 meter dash, 100 meter walk and tennis ball throw.

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The top three finishers in each event advanced to the state Special Olympics meet, which will take place in Biloxi May 16-18.

“This was a great event,” director Tommie Jones said. “Everything went well. We had a very good turnout.”

Jones said Special Olympics is an important event for people with disabilities.

“When they come out and compete it builds their self esteem and physical endurance and also begins friendships with the other competitors,” Jones said. “Their families also have a chance to come out and celebrate with them.”

Pamela Sikes, whose daughter Kristy, a student at Natchez High School, competed in the softball throw and 100- meter walk, said her daughter loved competing in the Special Olympics.

“She loves it and I love coming to watch her participate,” Sikes said. “I don’t know what she is going to do when she isn’t doing this anymore.”

Sikes said her daughter loves to win first place, but even if she doesn’t just competing is the most important part.

“She loves getting those first place ribbons,” Sikes said. “But I tell her to just go out there and do the best she can. That’s the most important thing.”