COLUMBUS, Kans. — A unique sport that dates back to ancient Rome takes over a Special Olympics event.

The competition was fierce at the Southeast Kansas Regional Bocce Competition in Columbus.

The goal is to roll a bocce ball closest to the target ball. Students from Pittsburg, Girard, Caney, and Columbus high schools volunteered to join the “Unified” program for the sport.

It partners those students with an athlete that has a disability.

“It’s really important for the kids to come on out, have some fun, participate in sports, but then also to form these relationships. This sport in particular is called our unified sport, So we partner our athletes together with peers that don’t have disabilities, and they are able to form those relationships that go on for lifelong friendships,” said Erin Fletcher, Director of Grants & development Special Olympics Kansas.

Participation in this year’s event doubled from last year.

The next event for Special Olympics Kansas will be a bowling competition, on November 2nd in Pittsburg.

If you are interested in volunteering, you can do so here, on the Special Olympics Kansas website.