SPECIAL Olympics Ballarat will host the Regional Aquatic Games at the YMCA Ballarat Aquatic Centre today.
Special Olympics Ballarat secretary Stuart Bates said the event would draw more than 100 athletes with disabilities from across Victoria, including 50 from the Ballarat region.
Bates said the regional games provided star athletes with a platform to ascend to higher levels, even competing on an international stage.
“They will go to regional games and if they qualify they will go onto state, national and international games,” Bates said.
“It’s a sporting pathway for people with intellectual disabilities and they are training at grassroots level.
“It’s the next step for people with disabilities and it gives them the opportunity to try different things in life and achieve their goals.”
Bates said that Special Olympics Ballarat had “empowered” more than 100 local athletes since it was established in 2003.
“Our focus is on participation, but it is really about athletes giving it their best and making friends.”
In 2011 there were more than four million athletes competing in Special Olympics competitions worldwide.