For more than 180 athletes inside Grace P. Johnson Stadium, Wednesday was their time to shine.
UNC Pembroke has been hosted Robeson County Special Olympics for the past four years. Athletes competed in multiple events, including the 50-meter run/walk, 100-meter run/walk, softball throw, standing long jump and running long jump. They competed in groups based on gender and age.
There was a designated free play area for athletes ages 2 to 7. Most of the athletes are students in the Public Schools of Robeson County. This year, members of two adult group homes, also participated.
“This is one of the highlights of my year,” said Anthony Govan, program specialist with Robeson County Park and Recreation Department, the event’s main sponsor.
“It takes a lot to put it together, but when see I the kids out here competing and the smiles on their faces, it’s all worth it.”
The games wouldn’t be possible, Govan said, without the scores of community volunteers and collaboration with UNCP students, faculty, staff and student-athletes. Sandy Jacobs, associate director for service learning in the Office of Community and Civic Engagement, said 265 volunteers assisted and cheered on the competitors. The majority of the volunteers – 190 – were from UNCP.
BB&T, which brought 50 employees, provided lunch.