OHSAA adds wheelchair events to state track & field championships

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The Ohio High School Athletic Association

The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Board of Directors
made a historic decision today when it approved a recommendation to add
eight wheelchair championship final events – four for boys and four for
girls – to the OHSAA State Track and Field Tournament beginning in 2013.


OHSAA Board Approves Addition of Wheelchair Track & Field Events

Eight Events to be Contested Beginning with the 2013 OHSAA State Track & Field Tournament

COLUMBUS, Ohio —
The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Board of Directors
made a historic decision today when it approved a recommendation to add
eight wheelchair championship final events – four for boys and four for
girls – to the OHSAA State Track and Field Tournament beginning in 2013.
Wheelchair athletes in one boys division and one girls division will
compete in the 100 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters and shot put, with
participants wearing school uniforms and being awarded for individual
honors, although they will not score points for their teams. Track and
field is the first sport in which the OHSAA will include wheelchair
athletes as part of a state tournament and makes Ohio one of
approximately a dozen states to do so.

“This
is something we have talked about for some time now and I’m thrilled
that our Board of Directors has taken the formal step to make this a
reality,” OHSAA Commissioner Daniel B. Ross, Ph.D., said. “The executive
committee of the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches
(OATCCC) 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.”

During
the regular season, all fully automated timing qualifying wheelchair
times in the 100, 400 and 800 and wheelchair distances in the shot put
will be collected by the OATCCC, with the top eight male and top eight
female times or distances in each event qualifying for championship
final events at the state tournament without regard to the OHSAA
divisional assignment of the participants’ schools.

To
qualify for the wheelchair events, athletes must have a permanent,
physical disability and must be verified by a licensed physician.
Participants must also meet all OHSAA and school eligibility
requirements. While participating, coaches may not assist athletes in
the 100, 400 or 800, and no motorized chairs are permitted. Athletes in
the shot put may be assisted by coaches in getting to the competition
area and entering and leaving the circle. The coach may also hold down
the chair during the throwing attempt to prevent excessive movement.

“The
impact on the young athletes with physical disabilities participating
in this championship will be incredible,” said Charlie Huebner, United
States Olympic Committee Chief of Paralympics. “They will be
representing their schools and communities in ways that have never been
seen in Ohio. I commend the Ohio High School Athletic Association and
the state track and field coaches association for making this dream a
reality for the athletes participating in Paralympic sport.”

A
tentative schedule for the OHSAA State Track and Field Tournament on
Saturday, June 8, 2013, has the girls and boys wheelchair division 100
meter events taking place during the Division III tournament in the
morning; the girls and boys wheelchair division 400 meter events being
held during the Division II tournament in the early afternoon, and the
girls and boys wheelchair division 800 meter events occurring during the
Division I tournament late in the afternoon. The girls and boys
wheelchair division shot put events will take place during the Division I
field events that begin at either noon or 3:00 that afternoon.

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