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Race Directors Should Seek Paratriathlon-friendly Certification
Below are the top five reasons race directors should be seeking Paratriathlon-friendly certification.
1. Expansion: Paratriathlon is the fastest growing segment of the triathlon community
On December 11, 2010, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced that paratriathlon was officially accepted into the Paralympic Games. Paratriathlon will have its Paralympic debut in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. The number of paratriathletes (military and civilian) registered with USAT has grown 500% since this announcement. More opportunities are needed to accommodate these increasing numbers of dedicated athletes. The effort required to include these athletes is minimal. In fact, paratriathletes can be integrated into most races. By distinguishing your race as para-friendly, you say to our wounded warriors, “thank you for your service.” You say to your community, “ll are welcome here.”
2. Aspiration: Future Paralympians need high-quality opportunities to prepare
The Rio Paralympic Games is quickly shaping up to be the most historic Games to-date and paratriathlon is certain to be front and center for its debut. By being designated as para-friendly, you increase your potential to attract elite paratriathletes. This will add a whole new dimension of racing to your event. You are effectively saying to top athletes, “I have gone the extra mile for you and I want you to choose my race.” This certification says, “Achieve your dreams, starting right here.” You also open yourself up to the possibility of hosting a Paratriathlon Regional or National Championship.
3. Inspiration: Disabled athletes garner extensive positive exposure
The 2012 London Paralympic Games had 2.7 million live spectators in addition to the media attention garnered through social media that included 1.3 million tweets using the word ‘Paralympic’ and 5.8 million downloads of the London 2012 Paralympic App. The U.S. finished 6th the in medal count with 98 medals (31 Gold, 29 Silver, 38 Bronze) in 20 sports. As a result, NBC Olympic and the USOC are partnering to broadcast 66 hours of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. With this level of global excitement, media outlets from local, state, and regional markets are expected to take particular interest in the inspirational stories of disabled athletes competing around the country. By becoming para-friendly certified, you have the opportunity to increase your positive exposure to fellow athletes, fans, and the community.
4. Inclusion: Athletes of all abilities deserve to be included in the lifestyle of triathlon
Development of the grassroots section of the athlete development pipeline is also underway. USAT strives to support all athletes with disabilities so they are able to compete in triathlons across the country. One of the greatest aspects of the sport of paratriathlon is the ability for disabled athletes to be integrated into almost every single USAT-sanctioned race and USAT-certified club. These efforts are fundamental and make this sport a viable option for all families who are looking to live a healthy and active lifestyle. By being para-friendly certified, you are saying to the All-American family loving someone with a disability, “Your health matters to me.”
5. Celebration: Share the win – it’s the right thing to do.
Over the past year, USAT has seen a large increase in the number organizations, sport clubs, and training facilities who desire to incorporate paratriathlon into their facilities and activities. Across the country, race directors and clubs see including paratriathletes as the right thing to do. The USAT national office, the USAT Paratriathlon Committee, and the 10 USAT regional councils have resources for growing participation in the sport at all levels. By including paratriathletes, you will add a whole new dimension to your race. At the same time, you create an exciting opportunity for these dedicated athletes. By certifying, you will make it known that you have addressed the few extra considerations required to meet the needs of disabled athletes. This will solidify your reputation as a good, responsible, inclusive community event. In turn, expect to see an increase in race registrations and sponsorship opportunities. Thus, you share the win.
Resources for Becoming Para-friendly Certified
I am your local resource for helping you overcome any apparent obstacles to integrating disabled athletes. Show me any hoop or hurdle that looks difficult and I will help you create a solution through or over it. I am also available to consult with your volunteers, officials, and timing company as needed in order to ensure the competitive aspects of the race are approached with accuracy and fairness. My contact information is listed below.
Additional resources, such as the 2014 Paratriathlon Event FAQs, as well as applications for initial certification and re-certification are available on the USAT website HERE.
Colin Grove, PT, MS, NCS
USAT Midwest Regional Council
University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics
Rehabilitation Clinic, Neuro Outpatient Rehabilitation
6630 University Avenue, Middleton, WI 53562
608-265-0109 ext. 1
Paratriathlon in the USAT Midwest Region
Certified Paratriathlon-friendly Races
UCP Shawnee Mission Triathlon
Shawnee, Kan., July 13
Midwest Regional Paratriathlon Championship
Omaha, Neb., July 20
UCO Endeavor Games: Paratriathlon
University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Okla., June 5-8
Disabled Athlete Sports Association Triathlon ClubContact Meghan at firstname.lastname@example.org