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Citing coronavirus, Special Olympics Illinois cancels state basketball tournaments
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Citing coronavirus, Special Olympics Illinois cancels state basketball tournaments

NORMAL — Special Olympics Illinois announced Tuesday it has cancelled this weekend's Illinois State Basketball Championships at Illinois State's Horton Field House and Illinois Wesleyan's Shirk Center because of the coronavirus.

The organization also announced it has canceled the Unified State Basketball Championships, which were to take place in Peoria this weekend in conjunction with the IHSA Boys Class 1A and 2A State Tournaments at the Peoria Civic Center. 

The IHSA announced Monday the boys state tournaments will be played as scheduled on Friday and Saturday.

Special Olympics Illinois said in an announcement on its website that there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus with any Special Olympics Illinois athlete.

However, the threat of the disease prompted the organization to cancel the events. The tournament in Bloomington-Normal was slated to include more than 1,800 Special Olympics athletes and 150 teams.

"It is our goal to keep the safety of our athletes foremost in everything that we do," the statement said. "With the large number of players and other at each of these competitions, we felt it was necessary to make this difficult decision."

The organization said neither tournament will be rescheduled, largely because of the availability of facilities, volunteers and officials on another date. 

Special Olympics Illinois said it is "currently evaluating the status of scheduled events beyond this weekend, and we will issue guidance regarding those events later this week."

"The most disturbing thing about cancelling the events is the disappointment to all involved who worked so hard to prepare for the tournaments," it said.

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Contact Randy Kindred at (309) 820-3402. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_kindred

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