ABU DHABI, United Aarab Emirates (WBKO) --- After nearly two weeks in Abu Dhabi and waiting four days since Opening Ceremonies, Russellville rhythmic gymnast Lee Dockins finally got the opportunity to begin competition today in the divisioning round of the Level 3 rhythmic gymnastics competition. Dockins posted scores of 12.3 in the hoop, 12.2 in clubs, 13.15 in ribbon and 12.45 in ball at the Abu Dhabi National Exposition Center for a 50.1 all-around mark.
The divisioning round is used to establish scores so that athletes can be placed in appropriately competitive divisions for the medal round competition tomorrow. Special Olympics divisions athletes by gender, age and demonstrated ability to ensure fair opportunities for athletes to compete for medals.
Dockins will try to add to her impressive career World Games medal haul in the medal round tomorrow. She is the most decorated World Games athlete in Special Olympics Kentucky history. In three previous trips to the World Games – 2007 in Shanghai, 2011 in Athens and 2015 in Los Angeles – Dockins has won a total of 12 medals, including eight golds. Two of those gold medals – 2011 in Athens and 2015 in Los Angeles – came in the all-around. All of Dockins' previous medals have come in artistic gymnastics. This is her first time competing in rhythmic gymnastics at the World Games level.
The 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games are being held March 14-21, 2019, in Abu Dhabi. It is the first time the World Games have been held in the Middle East. The Games are bringing together more than 7,000 athletes from 170 countries to compete. This is the fourth time that the World Summer Games have been held outside the United States. The others were in 2003 in Dublin, Ireland; 2007 in Shanghai, China and 2011 in Athens, Greece.