Over 800 athletes participate in Special Olympics

The tournament runs into Saturday night and continues Sunday morning

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Going for Gold! 22News was there as hundreds of athletes showed their skills in Special Olympics Massachusetts.

More than 800 athletes with and without intellectual disabilities were in Springfield Saturday for Special Olympics Massachusetts.

At Blunt Park, softball was the main attraction.

Gym teacher Ryan Kelly told 22News, “Being able to scrimmage or play games. The interaction from person to person is just something special and these guys really enjoy it.”

One of this year’s athletes told 22News he and his friends spend a lot of time practicing for the tournament and they couldn’t have asked for better weather.

“A couple of months, June to August. Good weather, nice and cool,” said Kurt Leichserng, a participant.

Playing in the tournament is a home run for the participants!

Volunteer Martha Dove told 22News, the chance to sit back and watch the athletes shine is their favorite part, “Seeing the athlete’s smiles on some of their faces. A lot of these individuals have been told they can’t do things for so many years. And we have some folks at the Westover Country Club who have scored holes in one on a traditional golf course.”

Softball wasn’t the only event on Saturday. All across Amherst there was golf, bocce, cycling and fishing tournaments.

The tournament runs into Saturday night and continues Sunday morning. The final awards are given out at 4pm Sunday.

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