After a four-year hiatus, the Special Olympics Ontario School Championships officially opens today, Tuesday, Jun. 6, 2023, with all events being held here in Kingston.
Earlier this spring, Kingston Police partnered with Special Olympics Ontario for the 2023 Special Olympics Ontario School Championships and promoted the Draft an Athlete program that helps Special Olympics athletes and teams achieve their dreams of competing in regional, provincial, national, or world competitions. Now, Kingston will host over 1,000 high-school-aged athletes with an intellectual disability who will participate in five sports (Floor Hockey, Basketball, Soccer, Bocce and Track & Field) over two days.
Kingston Police are proud hosts of the event and Acting Chief Scott Fraser will serve as the Honorary Chair of the Games, according to a release from Kingston Police.
“We cannot wait to welcome over 1,000 Special Olympics athletes to Kingston for the Games. Kingston Police believes in the power of sport and are champions of acceptance and inclusion. To that end, we wish everyone luck in their competitions and more importantly: have fun!” Chief Fraser expressed.
Special Olympics Ontario also announced that MPP Dave Smith (Peterborough – Kawartha) will participate in the Opening Ceremonies in his role as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. The Opening Ceremonies will take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Queen’s University’s Athletic Centre.
“We are extremely grateful to have received such great support from the provincial government in past and current events and appreciate PA Smith’s attendance at the School Championships which demonstrates the commitment and appreciation the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport has for the amazing athletes of Special Olympics Ontario,” stated Glenn MacDonell, President & CEO of Special Olympics Ontario,
“Sport should be equitable, diverse and inclusive – athletes should be safe and welcomed from all backgrounds and abilities,” added Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “That is why the Ontario government is excited to support Special Olympics Ontario in its mission to promote respect, acceptance and inclusion for athletes with intellectual disabilities – and to welcome back the School Championships after four years.”
Originally scheduled for June 2020, these Championships mark a significant milestone for Kingston, as it proudly hosts its first-ever School Championships event. Notably, the Kingston Police Service, in collaboration with the Ontario Provincial Police, previously co-hosted the immensely successful 2012 Special Olympics Provincial Spring Games.
The 2023 Special Olympics Ontario School Championships will take place across the city of Kingston. For more information about the Games and how to get involved, please visit: www.schoolchamps.ca