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Special Olympics Basketball Tournament starts Friday

ESCANABA — The 2019 Special Olympics Michigan Regional Basketball Tournament will begin Friday, Feb. 8, and continue through Saturday, Feb. 9, at Escanaba High School, according to organizers of the event.

According to Dorothy Kollmann, Special Olympics Committee co-chairperson for the Escanaba Kiwanis, participants from across the Upper Peninsula are expected to attend. Organizers are anticipating 350 people, including athletes, coaches, and families.

Male and female athletes of various abilities, ages 16 and up, will compete in the basketball tournament.

The Escanaba Kiwanis Club has sponsored the event for 42 years, Kollmann noted. A number of other volunteers have also agreed to assist in this year’s Tournament

Registration and dinner for the visitors will begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at the Escanaba High School with opening ceremonies for the tournament scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. The American Legion Honor Guard and Civil Air Patrol will lead the Parade of Athletes. The Remnants Chorus will sing the National Anthem, Legislative representatives and Escanaba Mayor Marc Tall are expected at the opening ceremonies.

The games will begin at approximately 6:30 p.m. with a dance scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. The competitions will continue Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. with lunch being served at 11:30 a.m. Attendees will watch games and or visit in the commons area. Closing ceremonies will be taking place around 2 p.m. Teams will receive metals and ribbons. Top qualifiers would be able to compete downstate.

The public is invited to attend, there is no cost for admission. Concessions will be available Friday evening and all day Saturday.

According to a press release from Special Olympics, Special Olympics Michigan provides year round sports training and athletic competition for 22,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Athletes build physical fitness, develop self-confidence and prepare for participation in community sports programs.

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