May 29, 2008
For Release: Immediate
Twelve-hundred athletes will compete in the 24th Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged, which will take place at the Mitchell Athletics Complex in Uniondale, Long Island from May 29th thru May 31st.
"The challenges that these athletes face everyday with such confidence and drive makes for an exciting and triumphant environment during these games," said Governor David A. Paterson, who is visually impaired. "In the face of adversity these individuals surmount tremendous barriers. These athletes deserve great respect and we are delighted to honor not only the athletes but their support networks, including their families, friends and coaches."
The Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged started in 1985 and was the first publicly sponsored event in the nation developed strictly for physically challenged athletes, and it remains one of very few of its kind.
"Of the many fine programs at State Parks, the Games for the Physically Challenged are perhaps the most uplifting," New York State Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash said. "All of the young athletes who participate show us how a positive attitude and firm resolve really can lead to great successes."
During the weekend-long event, athletes will participate in various competitions including track and field and swimming. The program is designed to emphasize these athletes' abilities and help to develop their confidence. The success the athletes earn at the games encourages an interest in sports and physical activities that lasts a lifetime.
The Games for the Physically Challenged provide an opportunity for young athletes to participate in and excel in a variety of competitions and activities. The games consist of some 1,200 young athletes between ages 5 and 21 years old who are physically disabled, visually impaired, or blind, hearing impaired or deaf, and those with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries or Les Autres, which include arthritis and muscular dystrophy.
The Opening Ceremony takes place on Thursday evening, May 29th at 6:30 p.m. A parade of athletes kicks off the ceremony, followed by music, honor guard by the New York State Park Police, and the official torch to open the Games. Competition will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and will continue throughout the two days at Mitchell Field in Uniondale, Long Island. The games are open and free of charge to the public.
The Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged are administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and sponsored by the New York State Lottery, King Kullen, Nassau County Parks, Long Island Power Authority and Long Island Bus Co.
The Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged is one of four Empire State Games programs administered by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The other Empire State Games programs are The Senior Games, June 3-8, in Cortland, The Summer Games, July 23-27, in Binghamton and The Winter Games, next February 20-22, in Lake Placid.
Additional information on all Empire State Games programming can be found on the Games' website at: www.empirestategames.org