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World Games Begin, Athletes Prepare for Competition

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RALEIGH — The athletes spent the day practicing and getting familiar with the venues where they will be competing. The Opening Ceremony is Saturday night and the competitions begin on Sunday.

Canadian coaches and athletes cheered each other on before their first softball practice at Walnut Creek. It was a moment they have spent months preparing for.

"I have been waiting for this to come," says Canadian athlete Todd Devries. "I have really been waiting, because we have been doing a lot of practices at home through the winter."

"It is just amazing," says Marsha Deal, Team USA coach. "All the different countries, everybody is wishing each other well."

Gymnasts from all over the world filled the Raleigh Convention Center, practicing the routines they will perform next week, and enjoying the camaraderie of the World Games.

"Athletes from other countries have come up to talk to us, and communicate," says Team USA coach Marsha Deal. "The girls are enjoying it. It's just an awesome event."

While the athletes practiced, their families partied. More than a thousand people attended the rally for Team USA at theNorth Carolina Museum of Art.

It is an exciting weekend for families like the Gardners, who are here to watch their son play soccer.

"This is great, it's super," says Jim Gardner. "It is really special. He's been so excited, for the past month, he's driving us crazy waiting to get here."

Starting Monday, WRAL will broadcast nightly specials from 7:30 to 8 p.m. through Friday night. If you miss that, you can also catch a five-minute recap of the day's happenings every night after the 11:00 News.

Traffic will obviously be affected by the World Games. For updates throughout the day, you can checkTriangle Traffic. Some roads have been closed until the Games end, including Dan Allen Drive, Cates Avenue and Morrill Street, all in Raleigh.

The World Games end July 4.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
Dallas Smith, Web Editor

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