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Tatsuyuki Higa lights the Special Olympics torch Saturday as his escort, Master at Arms Seaman Sam Kleuber from the Fleet Activities Okinawa, stands by him. Kleuber is among about 1,000 American volunteers who support the annual Kadena Special Olympics games held at Kadena Air Base. 
About 890 special-needs athletes from both U.S. military and Okinawa communities participate in the sports and art event to exhibit their skills.
Tatsuyuki Higa lights the Special Olympics torch Saturday as his escort, Master at Arms Seaman Sam Kleuber from the Fleet Activities Okinawa, stands by him. Kleuber is among about 1,000 American volunteers who support the annual Kadena Special Olympics games held at Kadena Air Base. About 890 special-needs athletes from both U.S. military and Okinawa communities participate in the sports and art event to exhibit their skills. (Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes)
Tatsuyuki Higa lights the Special Olympics torch Saturday as his escort, Master at Arms Seaman Sam Kleuber from the Fleet Activities Okinawa, stands by him. Kleuber is among about 1,000 American volunteers who support the annual Kadena Special Olympics games held at Kadena Air Base. 
About 890 special-needs athletes from both U.S. military and Okinawa communities participate in the sports and art event to exhibit their skills.
Tatsuyuki Higa lights the Special Olympics torch Saturday as his escort, Master at Arms Seaman Sam Kleuber from the Fleet Activities Okinawa, stands by him. Kleuber is among about 1,000 American volunteers who support the annual Kadena Special Olympics games held at Kadena Air Base. About 890 special-needs athletes from both U.S. military and Okinawa communities participate in the sports and art event to exhibit their skills. (Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes)
Kadena Air Base Saturday hosts the 13th Kadena Special Olympics, in which special-needs athletes from both Okinawa and U.S. military communities compete their skills. 
The inter-community event began in 2000 with about 400 athletes. Twelve years later, participants grew more than double. On Saturday’s event, about 3,000 servicemembers, civilians, their families and Japanese volunteers gather the air base to support the goodwill event.
Kadena Air Base Saturday hosts the 13th Kadena Special Olympics, in which special-needs athletes from both Okinawa and U.S. military communities compete their skills. The inter-community event began in 2000 with about 400 athletes. Twelve years later, participants grew more than double. On Saturday’s event, about 3,000 servicemembers, civilians, their families and Japanese volunteers gather the air base to support the goodwill event. (Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes)
The former sumo wrestler, Konishiki, announces the opening of the 13th Kadena Special Olympics at Kadena Air Base Saturday. 
The Hawaii-born retired sumo wrestler visits Kadena Air Base to cheer the event for special-needs athletes from both Okinawa and U.S. military communities on the island. 
About 900 athletes compete in the games while about 3,000 American and Japanese volunteers gather to cheer the athletes and support the annual event.
The former sumo wrestler, Konishiki, announces the opening of the 13th Kadena Special Olympics at Kadena Air Base Saturday. The Hawaii-born retired sumo wrestler visits Kadena Air Base to cheer the event for special-needs athletes from both Okinawa and U.S. military communities on the island. About 900 athletes compete in the games while about 3,000 American and Japanese volunteers gather to cheer the athletes and support the annual event. (Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes)
Marine Sgt. Eric Thurau from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma assists Kota Yane of Okinawa City in the 30-meter Dash during the 13th Kadena Special Olympics Saturday.
The inter-community event began in 2000 with about 400 athletes. Twelve years later, participants grew more than double. On Saturday’s event, about 3,000 servicemembers, civilians, their families and Japanese volunteers gather the air base to support the goodwill event.
Marine Sgt. Eric Thurau from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma assists Kota Yane of Okinawa City in the 30-meter Dash during the 13th Kadena Special Olympics Saturday. The inter-community event began in 2000 with about 400 athletes. Twelve years later, participants grew more than double. On Saturday’s event, about 3,000 servicemembers, civilians, their families and Japanese volunteers gather the air base to support the goodwill event. (Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes)
Special-needs athletes compete in 30-meter Dash Saturday during the Kadena Special Olympics games held at Kadena Air Base. 
About 900 athletes from both Okinawa and U.S. military communities participate in the annual inter-community sports event. Also joining in the event are nearly 3,000 U.S. servicemembers, civilians, their families and Japanese volunteers, including cheer girls and band members from Kadena High School.
Special-needs athletes compete in 30-meter Dash Saturday during the Kadena Special Olympics games held at Kadena Air Base. About 900 athletes from both Okinawa and U.S. military communities participate in the annual inter-community sports event. Also joining in the event are nearly 3,000 U.S. servicemembers, civilians, their families and Japanese volunteers, including cheer girls and band members from Kadena High School. (Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes)
Tai Toguchi from Haebaru Town outruns his volunteer escort, Airman 1st Class Audrey McCleskey, in the 30-meter Dash during the 13th Kadena Special Olympics held at Kadena Air Base.
Tai Toguchi from Haebaru Town outruns his volunteer escort, Airman 1st Class Audrey McCleskey, in the 30-meter Dash during the 13th Kadena Special Olympics held at Kadena Air Base. (Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes)
For Nanami Tamayose, the Kadena Special Olympics is a special event that she looks forward to every year. She conveys her joy to Capt. Richard Weathers, commanding officer of the Fleet Activities Okinawa, by reading a note she prepared in English. About 900 special-needs athletes from both Okinawa and U.S. military communities compete in the annual sports event. Nearly 3,000 American and Japanese volunteers gather the air base to cheer the athletes and support the goodwill event.
For Nanami Tamayose, the Kadena Special Olympics is a special event that she looks forward to every year. She conveys her joy to Capt. Richard Weathers, commanding officer of the Fleet Activities Okinawa, by reading a note she prepared in English. About 900 special-needs athletes from both Okinawa and U.S. military communities compete in the annual sports event. Nearly 3,000 American and Japanese volunteers gather the air base to cheer the athletes and support the goodwill event. (Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes)
Nanami Tamayose smiles in relief after reading an English message she prepared to Capt. Richard Weathers, commanding officer of the Fleet Activities Okinawa. 
For Tamayose, the annual Kadena Special Olympics is something she is looking forward to every year. 
She participates in wheelchair softball throw Saturday. 
About 900 special-needs athletes compete in the various games, while nearly 3,000 American and Japanese volunteers support the special event at Kadena Air Base Saturday.
Nanami Tamayose smiles in relief after reading an English message she prepared to Capt. Richard Weathers, commanding officer of the Fleet Activities Okinawa. For Tamayose, the annual Kadena Special Olympics is something she is looking forward to every year. She participates in wheelchair softball throw Saturday. About 900 special-needs athletes compete in the various games, while nearly 3,000 American and Japanese volunteers support the special event at Kadena Air Base Saturday. (Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes)
Kadena High School Band perform during the 13th Kadena Special Olympics Saturday at Kadena Air Base, creating enjoyable atmosphere to the sports event for special-needs athletes.
Kadena High School Band perform during the 13th Kadena Special Olympics Saturday at Kadena Air Base, creating enjoyable atmosphere to the sports event for special-needs athletes. (Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes)
Students from Amelia Earhart Intermediate School at Kadena Air Base join in the 13th Kadena Special Olympic Saturday to cheer their classmates who participate in the annual sports event. About 900 special-needs athletes compete in the games while nearly 3,000 volunteers gather the air base to support the event and cheer the athletes.
Students from Amelia Earhart Intermediate School at Kadena Air Base join in the 13th Kadena Special Olympic Saturday to cheer their classmates who participate in the annual sports event. About 900 special-needs athletes compete in the games while nearly 3,000 volunteers gather the air base to support the event and cheer the athletes. (Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes)
Kadena Panthers cheerleading squad perform at the opening ceremony of the Kadena Special Olympic Saturday. 
The annual sports event for special -needs athletes has been supported by goodwill volunteers.
On Saturday, nearly 3,000 servicemembers, civilians and their families in U.S. military communities on the island, as well as Japanese volunteers, join the event to support about 900 athletes to compete in various games, such as 30-meters dash, wheelchair softball throw, floor hockey, frisbee toss and basketball throw.
Kadena Panthers cheerleading squad perform at the opening ceremony of the Kadena Special Olympic Saturday. The annual sports event for special -needs athletes has been supported by goodwill volunteers. On Saturday, nearly 3,000 servicemembers, civilians and their families in U.S. military communities on the island, as well as Japanese volunteers, join the event to support about 900 athletes to compete in various games, such as 30-meters dash, wheelchair softball throw, floor hockey, frisbee toss and basketball throw. (Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes)

Kadena Air Base was host to the 13th Kadena Special Olympics Saturday, an annual gathering where special-needs athletes from both Okinawa and U.S. military communities exhibit their skills in sporting and arts events.

The inter-community event began in 2000 with about 400 athletes. Twelve years later, participants grew more than double. On Saturday, nearly 3,000 people, including servicemembers, civilians, their families and Japanese volunteers, came out to the air base in support. About 890 special-needs athletes from both U.S. military and Okinawa communities participated.

Olympian Tatsuyuki Higa lit the Special Olympics torch as his escort, Master at Arms Seaman Sam Kleuber from the Fleet Activities Okinawa, stood by him.

Also providing their talents in support of the Games were the Kadena Panthers cheerleading squad and the high school band. Events included the 30-meters dash, wheelchair softball throw, floor hockey, frisbee toss and basketball throw.

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