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Kadena to Host 2000 Special Olympics

By: Tichakorn Hill

Date Posted: 2000-04-21

The 2000 Special Olympics will be held on 22 April on Kadena Air Base with more than 300 handicapped Okinawan and American athletes participating in the events.

“Special Olympics is truly “special.” In ways that inspire and reveal the very best in human nature, it has become one of the most encouraging and profound developments in the modern history of sports. Through this event we would like to work with our Okinawan partners to reach out to the community to embrace people who often do not receive enough recognition and support,” says 18th Support Group Deputy Commander and Kadena Special Olympics Committee Chairman Col. James W. Davis in a letter to Chatan Town Board of Education Superintendent Kenichi Touyama.

Approximately 300 disabled Okinawan athletes and 30 handicapped U.S. dependents from seven years old to seventy years old will be participating in the events, which will take place at Risner Sport Complex from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. These Okinawan athletes are from Kadena’s three surrounding municipalities: Okinawa City, Kadena Town, and Chatan Town. Disabled students from Okinawa Prefecture’s special education schools will also take part in the events.

Sport events include Ground Golf, Frisbee Toss, Soccer Skills, Softball Throw, 30m dash, 50m dash, 100m dash, 200m dash, 400m dash, 400m relay, and a 50m wheelchair race. More than 400 American and Okinawan volunteers will also support the upcoming Special Olympics.

In addition to the sport events, there will be an art exhibition of paintings, woodwork, carvings, and crafts by mentally and physically challenged artists from Okinawa City, Kadena Town, and Chatan Town, and by handicapped students from Okinawa’s Prefecture’s high schools.

There will also be several entertainments going on throughout the day, including Eisa Dancers, Taiko Drummers, Y2rok, Latin Connection, Japanese bands performed by the disabled, and much much more. Mr. McGraff will be the special guest.

Lunch will be provided for athletes and their families. For those who have no car, there will be shuttle buses taking them from Gate 5 to the event site.

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