Global Games World Championships for Para-Athletes with Intellectual Disability Begins in Italy

Athletes Without Limits swimmer Leslie Cichocki takes 6th in women’s 200 Backstroke; the highest world ranking by a US Paralympic S14 swimmer

September 29, Loano, Italy — The competition for the team of U.S. athletes at the 2011 INAS/IPC Global Games in Liguria Italy began today when swimmers Leslie Cichocki and Sarah Gilbert took to the water at Palasporte, the 50m outdoor competition pool in Loano, Italy.

Cichocki swam an aggressive morning program including the 50 freestyle where she set a personal best of 33.16 and placed 12th out of 26; the 200 IM; the 200 back where she advanced to the finals and set another personal best with a time of 3:07.13; and the 200 freestyle. Her advance to the finals was the first for a U.S. swimmer at the INAS Global Games World Championships.

Gilbert swam a personal best in the 200m Freestyle, finishing 2nd in in heat 1, while Cichocki lead out and won heat 2. The 200 Freestyle is one of only three swimming events that will have a new class for athletes with intellectual disability (S14) at the 2012 London Paralympics. While neither made the finals, each swimmer has a number of events over the remaining three days of the competition.

Friday the rest of the US Team begin their programs. Track athletes Mark Worley and Bruce Worley race the 10,000 meters while teammate Michael Murray has heats in the 1500 and 400 meter runs. Murray, who competed as the first intellectually disabled member of a U.S. Paralympic World Championship team earlier this year in New Zealand is looking to break the 4 minute mark in the 1500.

In cycling, Syd Lea is focused on winning golds in Friday’s road race and Saturday’s individual time trials. Lea is currently the second ranked cyclist with intellectual disability in the world.

Head of the U.S. Delegation Julie Holman reports that, “The U.S. athletes are well prepared and excited to represent the their country at this prestigious event. The quality of the competition continues to improve in advance of the 2012 Paralympics, which, for the first time since Sidney 2000, will host athletes with intellectual disability starting with track and field, swimming and table tennis.”

Additional results and photos will be posted on the Athletes Without Limits Facebook page and at