More than 330 bowlers will be on hand at the Brunswick Doverama in Dover this Saturday, Jan. 26, for the annual Special Olympics State Bowling Tournament, beginning at 8:30 a.m.
The Special Olympics athletes and their Unified partners (peers without a disability) will come from all over the state to put their months of training to the test in the state showdown. There will be several categories for the bowlers to participate in, including singles, doubles, Unified doubles, bumper and ramp divisions.
“Bowling is one of our most popular sports across the state,” said Gary Cimaglia, Special Olympics Delaware (SODE) senior director of sports. “One of the neatest things about our athletes participating in bowling is that they can then transfer what they learn when they have opportunities to bowl with friends and family in the community. We hear stories all the time from our parents about how great it is that their kids fit right on at a bowling birthday party or some other bowling event outside of Special Olympics.”
Locally, there will be a pair of Unified teams participating at the state tournament.
Dagsboro residents Bruce Arendall and his son Brian will be competing, while Ocean View’s Christina Calanna and her daughter Jillian will also be in on the action. Christina Calanna is the bowling sports director for the Sussex Riptide SODE team.
The Special Olympics bowling competition will feature children and adults representing the five SODE areas and one school. Those teams include the Riptide, Wilmington Wizards, Newark Dragons, MOT Tigers, Kent Wild Kats and Newark Charter School.
According to the Special Olympics website, while “bowling does not belong to the Olympic sports, it is among the most popular sports in Special Olympics. It is a particularly beneficial sport to people with intellectual disabilities, irrespective to their age or sports abilities, since it ensures physical exercise, and at the same time participation and social integration.”
All bowlers competed at area-level events in January before advancing to the state showcase. There will be an opening ceremony approximately 15 minutes before each shift of action getting under way. The shift start times are 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Medals will be awarded at the end of each shift.
The Brunswick Doverama is located at 1600 S. Governors Ave., Dover.
By Jason Feather