Special Olympics scheduled

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 15, 2004

On Wednesday 125 athletes will compete at Memorial Stadium as they have for the past 25 years. They are the Special Olympians.

The Cahaba Center’s local Special Olympics is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. Olympians will compete in events including the 50-meter dash, 100-meter dash, softball throw, shotput and distance kick.

Prize ribbons will be awarded to first through seventh place winners, but everyone will receive something for participating. &uot;All of them are winners,&uot; Sanders said. &uot;Just participating is a big thing for them. The last person crossing the finish line will be just as happy as the first.&uot;

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Winners of the local games will compete at the regional games in Mobile on March 27. Regional winners will advance to the state level at Auburn University on May 22.

The event wouldn’t be possible without volunteers, Sanders said. Volunteers include Central Christian Academy, John T. Morgan Academy, the Selma Fire Department, Haynes Ambulance of Selma, the Keith High School band, the Selma Charity League and Wallace Community College Selma. About 200 volunteers turn out for the event each year.

All local Olympians participate in one of four day-training programs located in Selma, Camden and Uniontown. Day-training participants are at least 21 or have completed 12 years in the public school system. &uot;We train them to be as independent as possible,&uot; Sanders said. &uot;Just anything you could think of that would make them more independent.&uot;

The programs teach participants skills such as making food, shopping, mathematics and telling time. Instead of a rigid curriculum, students enjoy classes built to their needs.

Sanders’ duties include overseeing the four day-training programs as well as coordinating the Special Olympics for the Cahaba Center. Mayor James Perkins Jr., the Selma City Council and Dallas County Commission have been invited to the event. &uot;We just want people to make a day of it,&uot; Sanders said. &uot;We want people to come out and support us.&uot;