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SOMO athletes compete at first annual State Pickleball Competition in Jefferson City

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JEFFERSON CITY – Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) hosted the first-ever State Pickleball Tournament on Saturday, July 15 at the Firley YMCA in Jefferson City on Ellis Blvd.

The 2023 Special Olympics Missouri State Pickleball Competition brought in more than 80 athletes and Unified partners from across the state.

“I’m really excited to bring pickleball to SOMO,” said Luke Lamb, SOMO’s director of competition and statewide training. “I think it’s going to be a fast growing sport. It’s already extremely popular with our athletes.”

SOMO is one of four Special Olympics programs in the pilot year of Special Olympics pickleball. Special Olympics is partnered with USA Pickleball.

“Last year, we surveyed our athletes, and pickleball was unanimously selected as a new sport they wanted to try,” said Melinda Wrye-Washington, SOMO’s Sr. Director of Programs.

Wrye-Washington added, “We launched clinics in all six of our areas across the state and had very positive returns. Pickleball provides a great opportunity for people with and without intellectual disabilities to play together on the same playing field.”

SOMO would like to thank all of its amazing volunteers for a successful event.

Thank you so much to all of our sponsors!

Statewide Partners: Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR), Missouri Association of Student Councils (MASC), Diamond Pet Foods, Veterans United Home Loans, Knights of Columbus, University of Missouri System, University of Missouri and MU Health Care.