Nassau's Empire State Games ready to get underway

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UNIONDALE -

Nearly 1,200 athletes descended on Nassau County Thursday for the opening ceremony of the annual, Olympic-style Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged.

The event gives participants the chance to compete in adapted sports competitions, including wheelchair basketball, track and field and swimming.

Susan Gordon Ryan founded the event 35 years ago. She says it allows people with disabilities to feel good about themselves.

Gilberto Napoleon says he and his son, Gilberto Jr., have been involved with the games for the past 19 years. He says participants learn teamwork and inspire each other, as well as him.

"Win or lose, they have a great time," he says.

The games take place this Friday and Saturday at Mitchel Athletic Complex. The free event is open to the public.

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