Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 4 - Field Clinic, Powerlifting and 5000m

Determination and striving to do your best are virtues everyone at the NJDC can relate to. The athletes and coaches are always looking for ways to challenge participants and it takes lots of time and practice. Wednesday morning the NJDC hosted a field clinic for the ambulatory athletes. Coaches discussed tips and techniques about the long jump, shotput, discus and javelin, as well as give one-on-one help to each of the athletes. Gianni Toce of team Gumbo was happy he got to take part in the clinic, saying "I knew how to do everything but not correctly, it was definitely helpful. I really needed work on shotput and with their help I figured it out quickly." The coaches I talked with had only good things to say about the clinic. Melinda Miles, Coach for Louisiana said, "It was great, very informative and I appreciate the NJDC putting this on. Everyone benefited from it."  Rich Robert is an official for this event and changed gears in order to help coach at the clinic. "We went through the basics of discus, javelin, and shotput for all the disability groups." Rich has a lot of experience teaching at these types of events. He has traveled all around the world training everyone from young athletes all the way up to military personnel. "I love teaching these clinics; these kids are very enthusiastic and willing to learn. They are diamonds in the rough and we get the chance to polish them." Lane Gram, Director of Games for this event, is also excited to be able to host a clinic this year. "It looked really good and hopefully it will influence the competition for the next few days," she remarked.

Athletes are always pushing their limits during competition, and during powerlifting many participants used their strength and will power to break records. Bryce Segura from Louisiana has been training all year for this event and it really paid off when he broke the record on his first lift at 210lbs. This record was then immediately smashed as Bryce broke his own record by lifting 220lbs! However, Bryce was disappointed because he couldn’t hit his target of 230lbs, saying "I've done it before in practice so I know I can do it. I have to keep going and pushing myself." He has already decided that he wants to break the record again next year and has already started planning out how he will train. Also breaking records at this event was Tiffany Melchiorre, making it look easy as she lifted 135lbs and surpassing the old record by 10lbs! Check out Tiffiany’s record breaking lift on Facebook.

Endurance is a necessity with the 5000m track event. That’s a little over 12 laps on a standard track, and wheelchair athletes are doing it with their upper body strength alone. “It’s harder using just your arms to push,” says Charles Jackson member of the United Spinal Navigators of New Jersey. Charles completed the circuit just over 14 minutes, and is working with an eye toward the IWAS World Junior being held in Puerto Rico next year. “I want to get there - that’s where my effort goes.” This is Charles second national event and he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

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