T20 Class Now Open at US Paralympic Track & Field Nationals

For the first time in over a decade Paralympic opportunities are opening up for athletes with intellectual disability, starting with the men’s 1500m for T20 (athletes with intellectual disability) at the upcoming  2010 US Paralympic Track & Field Nationals June 15-20, 2010 in Mirimar Florida.

Athletes Without Limits co-founder Barry Holman, worked together with US Paralympic to incorporate the class at this years nationals realizing the importance of the event for any athlete interested in getting into the US Team pipeline for the 2012 Paralympics.

Athletes Without Limits co-founder Julie Holman facilitated classification and entry into the competition for three athletes, Michael Murray, Steven Cuomo and Marcus Saunders. The athletes had to demonstrate they met not only the eligibility criteria for intellectual disability, but also the qualification time standards set by US Paralympics.

In addition to Athletes Without Limits volunteers, several members of the athletes’ communities were instrumental in seeing the athletes made to the event including the school psychologist and a local meet promoter in Murray’s hometown of Nashville, and psychologists and Disability Sport advocate Steve Cuomo with US Track and Field and Rolling Thunder Special Needs Program in Long Island, New York.

The event is a qualifier for the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand, an essential meet for making the 2012 US Paralympic Track & Field Team.  It would be for the first time in over 12 years, if an athlete with intellectual disability were to make the 2012 US Paralympic Team.