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Search for future paralympians to take place at free event in Atlanta

Aspiring paralympians can learn more about competing at the highest level and even get a chance at participating in the Rio Paralympics at a free recruiting and educational event in Atlanta on Saturday, May 21.

While athletes who have been training with the hopes of competing in the Paralympics, set for September, are encouraged to come out to this special event called a “Gateway to Gold Experience” hosted by BlazeSports America in conjunction with U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, other athletes — young or new to the sport, are also encouraged to participate and be potentially identified for the Paralympic pipeline.

Kicking off at 9 a.m. and held at St. Pius X High School in Atlanta (2674 Johnson Rd NE, Atlanta), the goal of the event is to introduce individuals with physical disabilities and visual impairments to Paralympic track and field. The Gateway to Gold Experience welcomes track and field coaches as well as athletes, and the event is free. To register and for more information, go to www.blazesports.org.

For those who think they might have what it takes, they can register (for free) and then train with Paralympic coaches for the day to find out. The event is scheduled for 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

People can sign up even if they have not participated in track and field before and want to learn more. For some athletes with disabilities, track and field requires special equipment that they might not have access to (like special wheelchairs), so this event would be a good way to try it for free.

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“The U.S. Paralympic Team strives to be the best in the world. But we cannot get to the top of the podium without the help of community partners like BlazeSports America,” said Rick Adams, chief of Paralympic Sport and NGB Organizational Development in a press release. “With the help of BlazeSports in hosting this Gateway to Gold Experience, U.S. Paralympics might find the next great Paralympic champion in Atlanta’s backyard.”

As a part of the clinic, prospective athletes will be trained on a variety of skills that can help determine their aptitude for Paralympic sport.

“We are thrilled to host the Gateway to Gold Experience,” said BlazeSports America Executive Director Cynthia Frisina in a press release. “This event is the U.S. Olympic Committee’s talent identification event for Paralympic track and field for the entire Southeast, so it is quite an honor.”

Gateway to Gold Experience events are being held throughout the country this spring in preparation for the summer Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

About U.S. Paralympics:

U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, is dedicated to becoming the world leader in the Paralympic sports movement and to promoting excellence in the lives of persons with physical and visual disabilities. Visit the U.S. Paralympics website at usparalympics.org.

About BlazeSports America:

Based in Atlanta and celebrating 20 years in 2016, BlazeSports America’s mission is to change the lives of children and adults with physical disabilities through adaptive sport. In addition to its US efforts, BlazeSports America has served individuals and communities in 11 countries and partners with organizations around the world utilizing sport as a vehicle for social change and greater inclusion. BlazeSports America is a nonprofit organization that is the legacy organization of the 1996 Paralympic Games held in Atlanta. www.blazesports.org

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