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Bowling with the best: Brainerd a host of the Special Olympics Minnesota State Bowling Tournament

Daniel Tousignant of the Brainerd Area Lakers bowls Saturday, Dec. 1, during the Special Olympics Minnesota State Bowling Tournament at Jack's House in Brainerd. Brainerd was one of eight cities across the state hosting the tournament. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Thousands of athletes competed across the state Thursday, Nov. 29, through Sunday, Dec. 2, in the state tournament for one of the fastest growing Special Olympics sports.

The Special Olympics Minnesota State Bowling Tournament took place at venues in eight cities, including Jack's House in Brainerd. Snowy weather complicated events in the southern part of the state, including in Mankato, which saw about 8 inches of snow Saturday, but there were no cancellations.

Although there are some modifications made for athletes with physical disabilities, most athletes compete under the same rules and circumstances as athletes on a professional tour, the organization's website stated.

In addition to traditional singles, athletes can participate in Unified Sports doubles. Unified Sports is a program assigning Special Olympics athletes and partners without intellectual disabilities to the same teams for training and competition. In Unified Sports bowling competition, a doubles team consists of one Special Olympics athlete and one Unified Partner. The state bowling tournament provides competition for traditional singles bowling and Unified Sports bowling events.

Athletes are grouped in competition divisions according to ability level and age. Athletes are not separated by gender as there is no competitive advantage for either gender in the sport of bowling, the organization stated.

All delegations competing at the tournament will have their team's average posted the week after State Bowling to see how they compared to other delegations across the state.