National Junior Disability Games begin Sunday in Rochester

The 2013 National Junior Disability Games will begin in Rochester on Sunday.

The week-long Junior Disability Games will bring the country's top physically disabled athletes together for their annual national championship. The field consists of more than 160 athletes representing 28 states, including several local athletes from Minnesota. All participants have qualified for the opportunity to advance to this national competition.

Athletes participating in the Games will begin arriving today. The Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for 3-4 p.m. Sunday at the Rochester Olmsted County Recreation Center. The first event, long course swimming, will also begin on Sunday.

"An event of this nature demands a considerable amount of planning and attention to detail," tournament director Ben Boldt of the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission said. "We have been able to pull in a lot of community support for this event and we feel like we are ready to roll."

Shjon Podein and his charity organization, TEAM 25, is the title sponsor of the Games.


"We are fortunate to have the resources to assist the Sports Commission in hosting this national competition in our home town," Podein said. "We hope all the athletes have a memorable experience while in Rochester."

The event is for athletes between the ages of 7 and 21 who have met the appropriate Disabled Sports Organization qualifying standards at a sanctioned regional qualifying meet or an approved qualifying competition. Disabilities include but are not limited to spinal injuries, cerebral palsy, visual impairments, amputations, limb deficiencies, and other congenital anomalies.

The athletes will compete in six sports: Track and field, table tennis, swimming, archery, weightlifting and pentathlon.

Rochester's Toriano Dixon is an area qualifier. He will compete in archery.

"He's 13 years old and did very well at the qualifying event in the Twin Cities a couple weeks ago," Boldt said.

The events will be held at the Rec Center, UCR Regional Sports Center, National Volleyball Center and at Century High School. All the track and field events will be held at Century. Exact locations and schedules can be found on the event web site:

Event details can also be found at or by calling the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission office at (507) 280-4701.

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