Special Olympians, Parkersburg ready for autumn games

PARKERSBURG – Nearly 550 Special Olympics athletes from 30 West Virginia counties will gather in Parkersburg from Friday through Sunday for the 2013 Special Olympics West Virginia Fall Games.

Fall Games is one of four statewide events conducted by Special Olympics and will enable individuals with intellectual disabilities of all skill levels to compete in volleyball, bowling, flag football and football skills.

Parkersburg has served as host of Fall Games for more than 20 years. Accompanying the Special Olympics athletes will be more than 200 volunteer coaches who have spent weeks training the athletes for the games.

“We have a record number of Special Olympics athletes who are thrilled to have the opportunity to travel to Parkersburg and demonstrate their courage and ability during their various competitions,” said John Corbett, CEO of Special Olympics West Virginia. “It’s going to be an exciting weekend for all involved, and I’m confident that during this time we’ll see many inspirational performances from the athletes.”

In addition to the athletes and coaches, about 175 volunteers from the Parkersburg area will give their time for the event and assist the athletes with their competitions and social activities. Volunteer opportunities remain and those interested may sign up at the Rod Oldham Center at Parkersburg South High School during the event, Corbett said.

“We rely on the involvement of many from the local community who generously give their time so that the Special Olympics athletes may have a quality and enjoyable experience,” he said.

SOWV provides a year-round sports training and athletic competition program for thousands of children and adults throughout the state with intellectual disabilities The programs give the athletes opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy.

Major underwriters for Fall Games include Dominion Resources, Wendy’s, Foodland and the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts. Counties represented at this year’s Fall Games will include: Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Braxton, Cabell, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, Mineral, Monongalia, Morgan, Nicholas, Preston, Putnam, Roane, Upshur, Wayne, Wirt and Wood.