MADISON, Miss. —Special Olympics Mississippi welcomes basketball and soccer athletes from across the state to compete in its 2016 Spring Games, this Saturday, April 2 in Jackson.
Spring Games will feature 5-on-5 full-court, 3-on-3 half-court and unified basketball matchups, as well as a soccer matchup, at the Mississippi Basketball & Athletics center in Jackson. Nine total athlete delegations will compete in Spring Games, including for the first time a unified team from the SO College Ole Miss chapter, which was established by students and staff in 2015.
“Unified competitions feature teams that pair athletes who have intellectual disabilities with “partner” student athletes,” said Tony Bahou, President and CEO of Special Olympics Mississippi. “Unified sports help build understanding, inclusion and friendships that last beyond the field and the court of play.”
Added Bahou, “We are thankful for the volunteers and donors around the state who devote their time and energies to helping create opportunities for our athletes to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics Athletes and their communities.”
Spring Games will begin with the Opening Ceremony at 9 a.m., and competition will follow from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Mississippi Basketball & Athletics center, located at 2240 Westbrook Road in Jackson.
Special Olympics Mississippi became one of the first pilot programs after Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver visited Ellisville State School in Jones County in 1968, and was officially incorporated and recognized by the state in August 1975.
Today, Special Olympics Mississippi serves more than 4,000 athletes through a network of 17 multi-county areas and thousands of volunteers. Athletes compete locally at more than 50 events across the state, then statewide at the annual Summer Games and Fall Games. Athletes can then advance to the national and international levels of competition.