HOUSTON- The University of Houston hosted the Gateway to Gold Talent Identification Event.
This is a program from the United States Olympic Committee and U.S. Paralympics Division. And what we`re doing is trying to introduce young folks that have disabilities- physical disabilities and visual impairments to the Paralympic Games. Classification of the Paralympic games are people that have had amputations, spinal cord injury, they also may have Cerebral Palsy, but it`s unlike Special Olympics, which are for cognitive disabilities. These are for people with physical disabilities” explains John Register, an amputee and the Associate Director of the United States Olympic Committee.
Jazmin Almlie-Ryan just competed in the Air Rifle event at the Paralympics Games in Rio de Janeiro. “To be able to go and represent the United States of America, and say I’m one of the best, and I’m competing against the best in the world is just truly a huge honor.”
Derrick Perkins tested out on the rowing machines as he considers changing sports. “I participated in Paralympic sports for the last four years – first as an equestrian and now as an archer- so when I saw they were having this locally I just had to come” says Perkins.
Calder Hodge wears two prosthetic running blades but that’s not going to slow him down in life. “I`m a football player and I`m just working on my secondary options- the Paralympics- track, field, and strength. From a young age my brothers always told me that you gotta get out and do something with your life. You can`t just be sitting at home being a slob. So at a young age I was getting out and playing sports. It`s a good thing there`s an event like this so athletes can show what they`re capable of” says Hodge.
Sixteen year old Seth Bosquez agrees. “To me this is really important because just recently I decided to start training for the 2020 Paralympics in Toyko. Usually when I go to events like this, they push my limits. They try to get me to run faster and go harder. I like that.”
The positive effects of an event like this run deep. Just ask Seth’s mom, Joy Bosquez, “To be able to associate with a group of peers, that are like him and have differences like he does, it`s great for him. And he`s really grown a lot from that.”
These athletes might be in a wheelchair or missing a limb, but don’t count them out. And a little warning… these folks are used to overcoming any obstacles they encounter… so don’t get in their way… unless you wanna be road kill. :)