Thursday night starts the games of the Annual Special Olympics Basketball & Cheerleading Tournament in Hays. You will be able to watch the opening ceremonies live here on HaysPost. Presenting Sponsor, the Kansas State Council of the Knights of Columbus will be featured in the opening ceremonies that are highlighted by the lighting of the cauldron. Almost 1600 athletes and coaches will be in Hays for the tournament
The torch will be carried by members of the Kansas Law Enforcement Torch Run, with special assistance from the 2012 Most Inspirational Athlete, Matthew Weems from the Topeka Jr. Blues. Matthew was always smaller and weaker than his peers when he was younger, but with Special Olympics has blossomed as he has developed muscular definition and strength. Wind sprints are dreaded in any sport, but Matthew is always ready to run. He may not be the fastest runner, but he always completes his sprint. Matthew also had a profound influence on his now brother-in-law, Dakota. Dakota was an Education major, but upon marrying Matthew’s sister, Christy, changed to Special Ed Today Dakota and Christy are both Special Ed teachers in Topeka and coaches for Matthew’s team. When Weems lights the torch on Thursday night at opening ceremonies, the games are officially declared open.
This year marks the 37th year the tournament has been held in Hays out of the 41 years of basketball for Special Olympics Kansas. New this year will be some Health & Wellness Activities. An Aerobic Class and Nutrition Session will be offered on Thursday afternoon to athletes. Coaches will be provided training also. For more information go to www.ksso.org.