ST. MARYS CITY, Md. (July 21, 2009) For the first time, Special Olympics athletes will compete in the sport of volleyball at this weekends Mid-Summer Classic at St. Marys College of Maryland. The Classic, which has been hosted by the college since 2000, will bring more than 240 athletes to the campus July 25-26 to also compete in sailing (Flying Juniors and catamarans) and kayaking.
The public is invited to the Special Olympics Maryland competition, which begins at 11 a.m. Saturday for opening ceremonies. Sailing and kayaking races on the St. Marys River are from 1 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Volleyball players will compete in the Athletics and Recreation Center from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to noon Sunday. Awards ceremonies will be ongoing through the weekend, with the final one scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday.
Special Olympics Maryland has been looking for a good home for volleyball, said Mary Lu Bucci, director of Special Olympics St. Mary's County. And with the college having the availability and facilities needed to cover this sport, we now have a team sport during the summer.
This is a wonderful venue for our Special Olympics sports - parents can come and sit on the riverbank and watch their sons and daughters compete in a calm, beautiful atmosphere. This is one of my favorite SO events, Bucci added.
Special Olympians have used the college facilities to train for many years, but began a formal partnership in 1999 when St. Marys stepped in on short notice to host the sailing competition of the Special Olympics World Summer Games after a drought threatened to cancel the event at its original location in North Carolina.