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Special Olympics athletes in Kansas who have been sidelined by COVID-19 will soon be able to participate in the summer games virtually.

In-person games were scheduled for early June, but concerns about the spread of COVID-19 caused the games to be cancelled.

“Special Olympics serves athletes with intellectual disabilities and many are in the highest at-risk level for COVID-19,” Heather Waters, a Special Olympics Kansas representative, said in a news release. “We know our athletes want to get together and train and compete, but our number one priority is keeping them safe and healthy.”

Athletes who participate in the virtual games will be able to choose one of six categories of competition ranging from running events to wheelchair competition. They will also be able to participate in a 1-mile run and a soccer dribble event where athletes will virtually partner with a teammate.

All events will be doable at participants’ homes using common household objects as substitutes for traditional sports equipment.

Now through May 29, athletes will train at home and record their best times and stats. On June 5, the original start date of the summer games, Special Olympics Kansas will host an online opening ceremony with state law enforcement agencies running the ceremonial torch run.

Results from the athlete’s competition will be divisioned by age, gender and ability level. Awards will be announced online from June 5 to 7.

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