KSO hosts bowling tournament
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan-- -- Approximately 150 Department of Defense volunteers and 50 volunteer interpreters met with more than 300 athletes in Mihama, Japan in support of the Kadena Special Olympics bowling tournament.
The bowling event takes place before KSO due to the distance between Emery Lanes and the Risner Fitness Complex, which would make transporting athletes who want to bowl in addition to participating in other events difficult, said Chip Steitz, 10th Regional Support Group public affairs specialist.
Athletes were broken up into groups by age, disability and special requirements, and awarded medals based on performance within their assigned lane.
"The biggest thing I've noticed is that we've brought so much joy and happiness not only to the athletes, but to the family members," Steitz said. "I think that's really critical, because it gives them one day where they can watch their child or the individual they're taking care of be recognized for their achievements and their successes regardless of what they are."
KSO, which started in 1999 as a small barbeque with no sporting events, has grown over the years to give disabled locals and Department of Defense Dependent Schools children an opportunity to compete locally.
The 15th annual Kadena Special Olympics is scheduled to take place Nov. 8 at the Risner Fitness Complex.