Special Olympics torch run needs you

One of the highlights for the Special Olympics of Kaua‘i takes place in less than two weeks.

Kaua‘i Mayor Bryan Baptiste honored the program with a proclamation yesterday declaring April 14 as Special Olympics Day on Kaua‘i.

Although the Special Olympics program is a year-round activity, on April 14, athletes, both student and adult, converge at Vidinha Stadium for the annual field games.

“The promotion of sports training and competition as a variety of Olympic-type sports has been shown to nurture and benefit the physical fitness, skills, intellectual development and positive self-esteem of the individuals participating in this program,” Baptiste said.

Kaua‘i’s program opens with the annual Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run from the Lihu‘e Branch of First Hawaiian Bank to Vidinha Stadium.

Members of the public are invited to join Kaua‘i’s law enforcement officers in running the “Flame of Hope” along the Rice Street route.

Law enforcement officers from the federal, military, state, county and local agencies are expected to participate in the run and lead the field of runners that in the past have included the Lifetime Stand members, football players from all three of Kaua‘i’s high schools, and some members of the Kaua‘i fire department.

Registration for the Troy Barboza Run starts at 7 a.m., April 14, at the First Hawaiian Bank, Lihu‘e Branch with the run starting at 7:30 a.m.

A $20 entry fee earns runners a commemorative crew neck tee-shirt, or tank top. Proceeds from this run benefit the Special Olympics Hawai‘i program.

Once the Troy Barboza Run crew arrives at Vidinha Stadium, the “Flame of Hope” is passed on to a Special Olympic athlete who joins the runners in an opening lap around the stadium climaxing in the lighting of the caldron.

The lighting opens the day of competition for the Special Olympics athletes who compete in events such as the 50-meter dash, standing and running long jump, shot put, softball throw, and a 400-meter Relay.

This year’s theme, Skill, Courage, Sharing and Joy, is in line with the mission of the Special Olympics program to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Kaua‘i Special Olympics athletes have gone on to bring home medals from the state games, and last year, a Kaua‘i Special Olympics athlete, Kylie Moniz, swept the power lifting for his age division at the national competition for the first time.

To enroll an athlete, or to volunteer, call 652-8662.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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