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State Games competitions to be spread out through rest of year, Opening Ceremonies canceled

(AP) — State Games of Mississippi plans to host as many of its 37 sporting events as possible through the rest of 2020, but currently no firm dates are set for any competitions.
The organization sent out a press release Monday saying its events were on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year’s Opening Ceremonies, previously scheduled for June 5, have been canceled. Competitions were set to begin later this month but will now be delayed until it is safe for them to resume.
“While we love to do everything in one month, that is not possible this year,” State Games Executive Director Carolyn Smith said in the press release. “We will offer opportunities later this year for our athletes to come together for the excitement and joy of competition. And, most important, we will keep safety of all participants, spectators, volunteers and staff at the forefront of our decisions.”
The release goes on to say State Games will work “closely with the governing bodies of the various sports, following the recommendations of Gov. Tate Reeves and local officials, and consulting its Rush Medical Advisory team for guidance.”
Bobbie Harmon, State Games of Mississippi’s director of marketing and development, said athletes would normally be registered for their respective competitions by this point in the year, but with no events scheduled for particular dates as of yet, they’re being instructed to stay informed via press releases and the organization’s website and Facebook page.
“We’re having to wait on when the venues start opening, then we can start scheduling things,” Harmon explained. “Pretty much everything is a waiting game right now. We’re hoping to have as many games as we possibly can and just trickle them out through the remainder of the year.”
State Games hosted its mountain biking competition at Bonita Lakes Park in early March before statewide shutdowns due to the pandemic began. The Netfest 3v3 soccer and four-person volleyball fundraising events were canceled, and Harmon said resuming competitions will involve multiple people all being on the same page.
“We have 37 sports, and each one has its own commissioner and 37 venues that we have to line up and make sure everything would be covered,” Harmon said. “We’ve been working with our governing bodies, sports medicine teams and everyone in order to make sure we’re not trying to open something prior to it being safe to do so.”
As frustrating as it is to cancel the Opening Ceremonies, Harmon said everyone at State Games is prioritizing safety.
“We’re flexible,” Harmon said. “We’re learning like everyone else.”
Visit State Games of Mississippi’s website at stategamesofms.org.