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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 5:20 pm

Fort Wayne hosting Paralympic Qualifying Competition

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne will host next year's International Blind Sports Federation Goalball & Judo Paralympic Qualifying Competition, officials announced Wednesday. 

The event is a Paralympic qualifier and will give athletes with visual impairments the opportunity to go to Tokyo for the 2020 Paralympic Games. Events next year will be held at Turnstone Center, Indiana Tech and the Grand Wayne Center.

"IBSA would like to thank everyone who has been a part of bringing this event to the USA. I think it is a great opportunity to raise awareness of Paralympic goalball and judo in the build-up to Tokyo 2020, but also looking further ahead to Los Angeles 2028," Jannie Hammershoi, president of the International Blind Sports Federation, said in a statement. "I encourage everyone who enjoys competitive sport to put the dates in their diaries to go along and support these great athletes."

It's humbling to be a part of Wednesday's "extraordinary announcement," Mayor Tom Henry said. 

"We are the first city in the United States, the only city in the United States, to be offered this kind of opportunity," Henry said. 

Next year's competition will be the most complex that Turnstone has ever done. It's the organization's first international event, Mike Mushett, Turnstone's CEO, said. 

The Fort Wayne-based Turnstone's mission is to empower people with disabilities to achieve their highest potential through services and programming. 

"We're very excited to partner with the U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S. Association of Blind Athletes, the International Blind Sports Federation and Visit Fort Wayne to make all of this happen," Mushett said. "This will truly be a community effort, not just Turnstone, not just U.S. Association of Blind Athletes. To be successful we need to rally the community around the event."

More information about the competition, including registration information, details on travel and lodging and a tentative schedule, will be available in September.