Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that Union County has been selected to host the 2015 National Junior Disability Championships. Sponsored in part by the Freeholder Board, this series of competitive events will take place July 18 – 24 at three Union County parks as well as two other facilities in and near Union County.
“We are thrilled to welcome visitors and athletes from all over the country to our Union County parks,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh. “The Freeholder Board has worked to enhance our public recreation resources and provide a more welcoming environment for all, and it is wonderful to see these efforts bear fruit in a way that will help so many young people showcase their abilities on a national stage.”
The 2015 National Junior Disability Championships™ (NJDC)TM is presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Children’s Specialized Hospital and the NJDC2015NJ Local Organizing Committee. The annual competition celebrates athletes who have physical disabilities and either use wheelchairs, walkers or crutches, who wear orthotics or leg braces, or who may have difficulties with physical coordination.
The 2015 NJDC event will feature over 250 physically disabled athletes from across the country, including athletes from two New Jersey teams, the Children’s Lightning Wheels and the North Jersey Navigators.
The qualifying athletes, ranging in age from 7 to 22, will compete in Paralympic style events including track, field, pentathlon, swimming, powerlifting and archery.
“One of my main focuses as a Freeholder is to forge new partnerships with businesses and organizations, to create more programming for individuals with disabilities in Union County,” said Freeholder Sergio Granados, who is the Board’s liaison to the Parks Department. “It is a great honor for our county to be chosen for this event, which enables more visitors to see the beautiful park system and amenities we have to offer.”
One of two swimming competitions will take place at Rahway River Park in Rahway, where a 1930’s-era swimming pool was replaced in the 1980’s with the eight lane, 50-meter Olympic scale Walter E. Ulrich Memorial Pool and dive tank.
The archery event will take place at Union County’s Olympic scale archery range in Oak Ridge Park, in Clark. The range was built in 2012 as a fully wheelchair-accessible facility, with the help of the local archery community. It is the only outdoor public archery range in the region.
The track and field events will take place at several locations at the County’s Warinanco Park in Roselle, including a brand new eight-lane running track and turf field, constructed in 2014 to replace a 1930’s-era stadium that was demolished at the beginning of the 21st century.
The Township of Cranford will host the other swimming competition at its six-lane pool, and the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel nearby in Iselin will host the powerlifting competition.
For information about ongoing Union County recreation programs for people with disabilities, visit the County website at ucnj.org. The Freeholder Board also sponsors Sensory Friendly Theatre, a performing arts series designed for children and adults with sensory sensitivities.
To learn more about programs and services offered by Children’s Specialized Hospital call 888-CHILDRENS or visit childrens-specialized.org.