Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 2 - Pentathlon, Table Tennis and Swimming

Day 2 started off early in the morning with the Pentathlon. Many of the athletes and coaches attending the event looked a little tired after a long night of meetings and socials. But that didn't last long. As athletes took their turns at each event you could see the focus and determination. They came to win. 

Some of the events that make up the Pentathlon include shotput, javelin, discus, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 meters. Sean Burns of team Carolina Cruisers from Weddington, North Carolina had just taken his turn at the shotput, throwing a 5.36. He said "I like being in Arizona. I do better in the heat." Sean is 18 years old and has been competing for four years now. "I look forward to going up against other athletes that are better me," he said after he was asked what he liked about the NJDC. 

The athletes and coaches all seem to agree that the NJDC is where the competition is. Gareson Hayes of Team Southpaws from Aura Colorado said, "I like meeting new people and learning that there are others like me, and that I can run just as fast as them." Gareson has been a part of school sports for about two years, but this is one of his first disabled competitions and he is showing everyone what he can do. He had just finished racing his favorite event, the 100 meter, and finished with a time of 16.89. 

Later in the morning the wheelchair athletes got their chance at the track portion of the Pentathlon. Adam Cruz of team Zero Gravity was calm and ready to go while waiting for his chance to race. At 17 years old Adam has been competing in local and national events for over 12 years. Many of those years have been devoted to road racing so it is no surprise how focused he is. Being from New York you may think the Arizona heat might get to him but he likes it and is actually planning on attending the University of Arizona in Tucson after high school.

Look for the Pentathlon results here: http://njdc2012.com/uploads/Results.Pentathlon__revised_.pdf 

After four hours in the sun everyone was ready for A/C. Table Tennis was a welcome break from the heat where it was held indoors at the Broadway Recreation Center, home of the event host, Arizona Disabled Sports. 
Team Thailand made its first appearance of the tournament and they came to win. Yuttajak Glinbancheun from Bangkok, Thailand dominated Table 4 winning every one of his matches during the wheelchair singles and taking first place for Thailand. Yuttajak was excited about each victory but stayed calm and collected at the start of each new match and easily read each shot that came his way. He is good at table tennis but his favorite event is freestyle swimming. So watch out him the rest of the week in the swimming competitions. 

There was a huge turnout of athletes, coaches, family, friends and local spectators for the start of the swimming events. You could feel the excitement of everyone at the pool. This was a social event just as much as it was a swimming competition. Many of the competitors would cheer on other teams to show their support and in between races would hang out with other groups. Andy Chasanoff, coach of the Paralympic Sport Club of Tampa said, "We come for the competition, but the social and educational aspect is just as important." Even after the races ended and athletes were still in the pool they would provide words of encouragement to the competitors in the lanes next to them. 

Unfortunately Arizona monsoons put a quick end to the first day of swimmings as lighting could be seen in the distance. There were mixed emotions in the classroom at Kino Aquatic Center as the event was called off after a 30 minute wait. Many of the athletes were ready to get back in the pool while others looked ready for bed.  But everyone will get their chance when swimming resumes July 24, at 6:30pm with event 14. See you there! 

1 comment:

  1. Thats so cool! Garrison looks like quite the determined athlete. i hope garrison and all of the athletes keep doing what they are doing.