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Kadena Air Base to host Special Olympics Games June 1

Date Posted: 2002-05-28

The Kadena Special Olympics Committee will host its third annual Special Olympics Games at Kadena Air Base on Saturday, June 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Approximately 600 Special Olympics athletes from Okinawa, including neighboring communities and U.S. military installations, are scheduled to participate in the event. In addition, more than 4,000 people are expected to show their support by attending Saturday's festivities, including many senior Government of Japan, Okinawa Prefectural Government, and U.S. military officials. Over 2,000 volunteers, including 500 interpreters, will demonstrate U.S.-Japan common interest in Special Olympics. Kadena will welcome 47 students from Meio University, who will home stay with American families on base and volunteer as interpreters at the Games.

The Games will include a parade of athletes followed by an opening ceremony where remarks will be made by Sargent Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International; and Brigadier General Jeffrey A. Remington, Commander, 18th Wing. The morning's competition will include 30 meter and 200 meter races, wheelchair softball throw, and other track and field events. An exhibit showcasing artwork done by special-needs individuals will be on display throughout the day. This year's games will introduce floor hockey as a demonstration sport. A goal of the Kadena Special Olympics Committee is to develop teams to compete for a spot at the 2005 Special Olympics International Games in Nagano, Japan.In addition to Sargent Shriver, guests for this year's festivities will also include Kayoko Hosokawa, President of Special Olympics, Nippon; and Nancy Baker, wife of Howard Baker, U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

The Kadena Special Olympics Committee in partnership with the Okinawa Prefectural Government, Okinawa City, Kadena Town, and Chatan Town sponsors the event. The Kadena Special Olympics Committee is a chartered private organization of military and civilian volunteers dedicated to enriching the lives of special-needs individuals through this sporting and cultural event.

Special Olympics is an international year-round program of sports training and competition for individuals with mental retardation. More than one million athletes in over 150 countries train and compete in 26 Olympic-type summer and winter sports. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with mental retardation continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with other athletes, their families and the community. There is no cost to participate in Special Olympics.

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