AMES, Iowa – The National Junior Disability Championships will bring approximately 200 participants and more than 200 coaches, staff, officials and families from across the country to central Iowa, Saturday, July 5 through Saturday, July 12. Throughout the week, the athletes will participate in a variety of sporting events including track and field, swimming, powerlifting and archery. This year, as NJDC celebrates its 31st anniversary, Iowa is excited to host this national championship for the first time.
The National Junior Disability Championships are a Paralympic-style competition that provides an opportunity for young people with physical disabilities, who are between the ages of 7 and 22, to compete in a variety of athletic events. These talented athletes all have physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, cerebral palsy, visual impairments, blindness, limb deficiencies or amputations and other congenital anomalies. NJDC was founded and is owned by Wheelchair Ambulatory Sports USA, with local support for the 2014 event from Iowa State University, the Ames Convention & Visitors Bureau and Adaptive Sports Iowa.
“The National Junior Disability Championships are another way for Adaptive Sports Iowa and the Iowa Sports Foundation to encourage the youth in our state to get active and stay active,” said Mike Boone, director, Adaptive Sports Iowa. “This event provides young people with physical disabilities the opportunity to compete against fellow athletes and have a lot of fun.”
The weeklong event will begin with the Opening Ceremony on Sunday, July 6 at 7 p.m. at the Cyclone Sports Complex. Competitions will begin Monday with swimming (long course) at the Furman Aquatic Center as well as table tennis and archery at the Lied Recreation Center. On Tuesday, there will be swimming (short course) at Beyer Hall. Wednesday through Friday, track and field events will take place at the Cyclone Sports Complex and Towers Recreation Field. On Friday, the pentathlon also will take place at the Cyclone Sports Complex. All sporting events are open to the public and community members are encouraged to come support the athletes.
Throughout the week, athletes will enjoy a variety of social events as well, including singing competitions, open gym, a BBQ and hand cycling exhibition, and a para-triathlete presentation. An awards banquet at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center will wrap up the week Friday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m.
“Junior athletes with unique abilities of today find themselves at a vital time in our development,” said Gregg J. Baumgarten, national chairman, Wheelchair & Ambulatory Sports USA. “More and more opportunities for our athletes now exist at the interscholastic and intercollegiate level than ever before and we are excited that the National Junior Disability Championships are a part of these opportunities.”
For more information and a complete 2014 NJDC event schedule, visit www.njdc2014.com or www.wasusa.org.