PARKERSBURG - Hundreds of Special Olympic athletes from 29 counties in West Virginia will be in Parkersburg today through Sunday for the 2012 Special Olympics West Virginia Fall Games.
Opening ceremonies are 8 p.m. today at the Parkersburg South High School auditorium.
"Every year our Special Olympics athletes look forward to arriving in Parkersburg and putting forth their best efforts during competition," said John Corbett, chief executive officer of Special Olympics West Virginia. "Fall Games is a wonderful opportunity for our athletes to demonstrate their courage, showcase their abilities and be proud of their accomplishments."
Fall Games is one of four Special Olympics statewide events 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 the event for more than 20 years.
Accompanying the participants will be more than 200 volunteer coaches who have spent weeks training the athletes for the games.
The schedule is:
* 2 p.m.: Bowling competition, Pike Street Lanes.
* 8 p.m.: Opening ceremonies, Parkersburg South High School auditorium.
* 8 a.m.: Volleyball competition, Rod Oldham Gymnasium, Parkersburg South.
* 9 a.m.: Bowling competition, Pike Street Lanes; flag football, practice field, Parkersburg South.
* 1:30 p.m.: Football skills, practice field, Parkersburg South.
* 8 a.m.: Volleyball competition, Rod Oldham Gymnasium, Parkersburg South; bowling competition, Pike Street Lanes.
* 10 a.m.: Flag football championships, practice field, Parkersburg South; football skills, practice field, Parkersburg South.
Major underwriters for the games are Grainger, Wendy's, Foodland and the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts.
Counties participating are Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Cabell, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mineral, Monongalia, Morgan, Nicholas, Preston, Putnam, Roane, Upshur, Wirt and Wood counties.
About 175 volunteers from the Parkersburg area will assist during the games and during social activities.
"We are touched that so many from the community devote their time, energy and resources to ensure that our Special Olympic athletes have a great overall experience," Corbett said.
Special Olympics of West Virginia provides a year-round sports training and athletic competition program for thousands of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. For more information, call the office at 304-345-9310 or Corbett at 304-552-4584.