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MATTOON (JG-TC) -- The Mattoon Area Family YMCA was the site Sunday for the Special Olympics Powerlifting competition.

Special Olympics Illinois Region I hosted its first powerlifting competition Sunday. Region officials noted that powerlifting requires regular practices to learn the discipline of lifting weights and developing safe lifting techniques in all three of this sport's events. The athletes must understand rules to ensure safe, qualified lifts, and implement healthy eating and wellness patterns throughout their day.

"Special Olympics Athletes who step up to the challenge of a specialized sport like Powerlifting are inspiring and #SOlimitless in their aspirations," Region 1 reported. "Similarly, the Region I Powerlifting coaches who train these athletes and prepare them for competition set an example as leaders of the inclusion movement. These coaches are motivating others to see the potential and abilities of Special Olympics athletes, rather than disabilities."

All coaches must complete a certified training in powerlifting and dedicate many hours to preparing athletes for their regional competition. During a competition, each athlete has three attempts to complete a valid lift for the events of bench press, dead lift, and squat.

If the athlete received a gold medal in his or her weight class, this athlete can advance to the powerlifting competition at the June 15-17 Special Olympics Illinois State Summer Games at Illinois State University in Bloomington.

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