NAPERVILLE—Families, volunteers and spectators will cheer on runners, shot-putters and other athletes as they compete in the largest area event of the year for Special Olympics Illinois Far West Suburban/Area 2 (DuPage, Kane, Kendall Counties) and Near West Suburban/Area 5 (Eastern DuPage County and west suburban Cook County).
The annual Spring Games will take place on Sunday, April 29, from 9 a.m.
until 4 p.m. at North Central College in Naperville. The public is invited to watch the competition and experience the joy of achievement by Special Olympics athletes.
At the combined Area 2/Area 5 Spring Games, approximately 670 athletes are expected to compete in track & field and power lifting. The event will begin at 9 a.m. with opening ceremonies. Competition follows immediately and will conclude around 4 p.m. All athletes will march in the parade of athletes and recite the Special Olympics oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
The running of the torch with the Flame of Hope and the lighting of the cauldron signifies the opening of the games. Naperville Mayor Pradel and North Central President Dr. Wilde are the special guests.
Athletes will compete in the 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 & 1500 Meter Runs, Standing & Running Long Jumps, Shot Put, Tennis and Softball Throw, High Jump, 400, 800, & 2K Walk Races, Wheelchair Competitions and Assisted Races and Power Lifting. Athletes compete in divisions by gender and ability levels.
Powerlifters from DuPage, suburban Cook and Will counties will also compete for the chance to qualify for State Summer Games by winning a gold medal at this competition.
To compete in the Special Olympics Illinois Area Spring Games, athletes must train for eight weeks. Athletes who win a gold medal at these area games qualify to compete in the Special Olympics Illinois State Summer Games to be held June 15-17 on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. More than 3,500 athletes from around the state are expected to compete in Summer Games.