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Alabama Sports Festival games announced

Once again, the time has come for the Alabama Sports Festival to take place, this time in Mobile, Ala.

"The 2001 Alabama Sports Festival (ASF) XIX State Games will be held in Mobile, during the period of June 28 through July 1," said Joel Cheatwood, director of communications for the ASF. "Last year we had more than 6,000 athletes and coaches participate in the State Games, not to mention the 10,000 spectators that witnessed the opening ceremonies."

Cheatwood said just as with the International Olympics, the Sports Festival will kick off with an opening ceremony on Friday, June 29 at the Mitchell Center, on the campus of the University of South Alabama (USA).

"The ceremony will start at 7 p.m., and this year's theme is Mardi Gras' n Mobile-style," Cheatwood said. "Just prior to the opening ceremony we will hold the Athlete Leadership Summit; this features knowledgeable guest speakers discussing such topics as the importance of character, or the dangers of tobacco.

"This year's speakers are Alabama State University (ASU) Coach Rob Spivey, and 2000 Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Bronze Medallist Scott Douglas," he said. "The theme this year is pursuing victory with honor', and will be held at the Jaguar gym, also on campus."

"This is a great event n it gives kids from all over the state an experience comparable to the Olympics," said Jerome Harris, director of Greenville Parks and Recreation. "We participated in the event last year in Birmingham, and the response, both from the children and their parents was very positive."

Harris said while Parks and Rec. would only be sending the girls' basketball team, many Greenville and Butler County athletes participate in track and field events during the festival.

"Several individuals from this area are in the track and field events n they enter them on their own," he said. "There were children from Greenville last year that won in track and field events, and our basketball team went one and two, defeating Birmingham n the level of competition in the event is so great n many of the teams are part of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), which allows them to draft their players from a larger area, actually from all over the state."

Harris said he would love to see all kids participate in the annual event.

"This is a great environment for the children to be in and around n I wish all kids participated in it," Harris said.

The players representing Greenville at the Festival in Mobile will be Shirley Burnett, Danita Crenshaw, Morgan Crenshaw, Mikki Harris, Katoria McDonald, Shamika McDonald, Kendra Mitchell, Kristy Payne, Lakendria Perdue, Andrea Roper, Brittney Roper, Laura Skipper, Denise Smith, Frances Watts and Tanesha Womack.