After a lot of talk, the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors has finally agreed to add eight wheelchair championship final events to the OHSAA State Track and Field Tournament in 2013.
Track and field will be the first sport to welcome wheelchair athletes in the state tournament. Ohio is also among the first twelve states to take action.
OHSAA commissioner Dan Ross reported in a release, “The executive committee of the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches has worked diligently to finalize the details and establish the parameters, and we are excited that the OHSAA will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on this group of outstanding student-athletes and create lifetime memories for the participants along with their families, schools and communities.”
In order to qualify for wheelchair sports, one must have a permanent physical disability validated by a licensed physician. Also, athletes have to meet all OHSAA and school eligibility requirements.
Although the wheelchair athletes will not be able to score points for their teams, they will be able to compete in the 100, 400 and 800 meters and shot put. Further, the regular season winners of the 100, 400, and 800 wheelchair shot put, will earn a spot in the championship state finals.
This opportunity will allow for wheelchair athletes to join and be apart of a team, as well as be surrounded by other kids who have disabilities, just like them.
Charlie Huebner, US Committee Chief of Paralympics stated,“They will be representing their schools and communities in ways that have never been seen in Ohio. The impact on the young athletes with physical disabilities participating in this championship will be incredible.”