Cahaba Center for Mental Health has organized the 34th annual Special Olympics for Tuesday,  April 2. -- File Photo
Cahaba Center for Mental Health has organized the 34th annual Special Olympics for Tuesday, April 2. -- File Photo

Memorial Stadium to host Special Olympics Tuesday

Published 9:40pm Saturday, March 30, 2013

Members of the Cahaba Center for Mental Health are once again gearing up for gold, as the center prepares to host its 34th annual Special Olympic Track and Field competition Tuesday, April 2 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

Approximately 125 Special Olympic athletes will participate locally with teams represented from Dallas, Perry and Wilcox counties. There will also be a team of 25 traveling from Chatom.

The track and field competition games will include a men and women’s softball throw, a standing and running long jump, shot put, a ball throw for distance, a distance kick, a 50 meter and 100 meter dash, a wheelchair race, a 25 meter and 50 meter walk, a 10 meter assisted walk as well as a 200 meter and 400 meter run, among other games.

“They’re doing a few different events [this year], they’re changing it up a little bit,” Lafon Barlow, executive director for the Cahaba Center said. “And we’re encouraging anyone from the community to come out and join us.”

The Special Olympic games will begin at 10 a.m. with the torch run, which Barlow said is always a highlight of the event. Barlow added that the community support for the competition is one of the greatest in the state.

“We just have awesome community support,” she said, noting approximately 300 volunteers have signed up throughout the county and even at local high schools including Southside, Dallas County, Morgan Academy and Meadowview.

“We need lots of cheerleaders,” she said. “[Our members] just love it.”

Barlow said coming to the Special Olympics is a great way to see what the community is really like.

“To me if you want to see your community and what kind of community you live in, it always does me the world of good to see that people really do care about each other,” she said. “It helps you appreciate our local community when you come there because you see an outpouring of people who embrace people who are different, and being able to positively reach out and embrace people with special needs, that’s just very positive — especially in terms of accepting people who have different needs.”

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