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SUNY Canton to host the north country’s Special Olympics Summer Games May 3

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CANTON — Athletes have been training for weeks preparing for the north country’s annual Special Olympics Summer Games.

The day of competition athletes in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties is May 3 at SUNY Canton’s Roos House athletic center.

“For most of the athletes, this is as far as they will be going in the games, so we try to make it as great an experience as possible,” area coordinator Elizabeth M. Demo said.

There will be 17 track and field and basketball events that will start at 9:45 a.m. and should wrap up around 2 p.m., Ms. Demo said.

“It’s going to be a very busy day,” she said.

Lesley E. Thompson, Canton, volunteers her time every year to organize eight weeks of basketball training for the athletes. This year, she said, the SUNY Canton men’s and women’s basketball teams are helping out with the weekly practices.

“They’ve been a great help and always bring lots of energy to the practices,” Ms. Thompson said.

Ms. Thompson said they have a record 25 athletes competing in basketball this year.

She said they’ve also added a javelin throw to the competition. The javelin is about three feet long and has a rubber tip to ensure safety, Ms. Demo said.

“We haven’t added a new competition is a while, so many of the athletes are excited to try it,” she said.

Ms. Demo said about 180 of the area’s 250 athletes will participate in the summer games.

Registration for athletes closed last week, as most are approaching the end of their training program with their coaches.

Ms. Demo said the about 10 athletes will be selected to go on to the state games being held June 5-8 in Buffalo.

Also new this year, Ms. Demo said, a table will be set up with information and tips on healthy living, eating and exercising for athletes to check out between competitions.

“It’s the first step in trying to bring aspects of the international competition to a local level,” Ms. Demo said.

Ms. Demo said the organization has seen a great amount of community and financial support over the past few years. She said SUNY Potsdam has donated their facilities in the past and for the second year in a row SUNY Canton has donated their field house and gym for the day.

Ms. Demo said the public is welcome to attend at no charge, but seating will be limited.

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