May 26th, 2011: Nineteen Paratriathletes -- Including Nine Injured Military -- Receive Expert Coaching and Technical Tips
San Diego, CA -- The Challenged Athletes Foundation®'s Dodge/CAF Paratriathlon Camp, an official technical training camp of USA Paratriathlon held May 5-8, 2011 in Pensacola, FL, helped 19 paratriathletes take the first steps toward the 2016 Paralympics, when the sport will be added to the program at the Rio Games. Participating campers -- including leg and arm amputees and paraplegics -- honed their technical abilities with assistance from leading triathlon experts and were taught how to get the most out of training, how to practice proper nutrition and how to race effectively and efficiently and reach their goals in the sport. Among the participants were nine members of CAF's Operation Rebound® program, which assists permanently injured military and first responders.
"It was a thrill to be a part of the camp again this year," said Jon Beeson, a former ITU World Champion and Co-Chairman of the USA Paratriathlon Committee. "We thank Dodge and USA Paratriathlon for providing the funding to help make it possible for these wonderful aspiring and developing paratriathletes to move to the next level in preparation for the 2016 Paralympic Games. We're looking forward to the next camp this fall in San Diego."
The Portofino Island Resort in Pensacola Beach, FL, proved to be the ideal location for the Dodge/CAF Paratriathlon Camp where athletes had access and instruction from some of the best Paratriathlon coaches in the sport, including: Sergio Borges of Sergio Borges X Training (Level 3 USA Triathlon Coach), Mark Sortino and John Murray, Level 1 coaches from the Multisport Performance Institute (MPI), and Peter Harsch, Level 1 Coach and Chief Prosthetist for Naval Medical Center San Diego. The coaching staff was rounded out by Jason Fowler (2009 Ironman® World Champion in the Handcycle Division) and Scot Hollonbeck (a four-time U.S. Paralympian in wheelchair racing) along with world-class challenged athlete mentors Sarah Reinertsen, Paul Martin, Amy Dodson and Beeson.
"What makes these camps special is that we couple the expertise of elite coaches with the real-world experiences of world champion mentors, so our participants don't have to reinvent the wheel," said Roy Perkins, Senior Director of Programs at the Challenged Athletes Foundation. "This greatly accelerates their progress and allows our athletes to quickly overcome any apprehensions they may have about the sport," he added.
Among those who took advantage of the coaching to overcome their fears was above-knee amputee Ben Simmons, who used the skills acquired in the pool swim session to overcome his fear of swimming and engage in an open water swim in the Santa Rosa Sound. Another example was Jennifer Clark who, thanks to the patient assistance of camp coaches, was able to ride her bicycle for the first time since losing her leg. These were just a few of the many inspirational moments that were shared at the camp, which also allows athletes to network and build friendships with others in the sport.
"This was by far the best time investment I have made in my triathlon journey," said Jose Ramos, a retired Navy Corpsman who lost his arm below the elbow in Iraq in 2004.
Many of the CAF/Dodge Paratriathlon Camp participants will compete in the Accenture USA Paratriathlon National Championship at the New York City Triathlon in early August. CAF plans to hold another camp in San Diego, CA, August 25 -28.
Challenged Athletes Foundation
The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved -- and stay involved -- in sports. CAF believes that participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $30million has been raised and almost 5,000 funding requests from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF's outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it's a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF's mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. To learn more, log on to www.challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.
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