7 Virginia athletes take part in Special Olympics World Games

Seven athletes with Special Olympics Virginia are taking part in the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

They are part of a 313-member delegation representing the United States, made up of 216 athletes, 63 coaches and 34 delegation members supporting team operations.

From left: Josh Norris, Grace Anne Braxton, Joey Roney, Karen Dickerson, Jenny Mitchell, Chris Raupp, Tori Martin. (SOVA)

Team Virginia is composed of:

  • Joey Roney, swimming
  • Josh Norris, half-marathon and 10,000m run
  • Chris Raupp, tennis
  • Grace Anne Braxton, golf
  • Karen Dickerson, half-marathon and 10,000m run – won gold in the half-marathon
  • Tori Martin, swimming
  • Jenny Mitchell, open-water swimming – won gold 

In addition, Ron Manilla will attend as a tennis coach, along with six Special Olympics Virginia staff members.

According to a Facebook post by Special Olympics Virginia, Dickerson won gold for Special Olympics USA in the half-marathon with a time of 1:50:12. Mitchell also took home the gold for Special Olympics USA in the 1,500m open-water swim.

Team members will compete in 18 of the 24 sports offered, including athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics, open-water swimming, powerlifting, sailing, swimming, table tennis, tennis, triathlon and volleyball.

The delegation includes Special Olympics Unified Sports teams, where people with and without intellectual disabilities compete together as teammates. Special Olympics USA will have representation in the following Unified Sports: basketball, bocce, golf, sailing, soccer, table tennis, tennis and volleyball.

The World Games are being held from March 14 to March 21.

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