Veterans with disabilities in Pittsburgh for wheelchair games

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More than 600 disabled veteran athletes will compete in a variety of sport competitions at the 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Pittsburgh, Aug. 1st through the 6th. The event is presented each year by officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

"The National Veterans Wheelchair Games feature some of the most competitive and accomplished wheelchair athletes in the world," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

Athletes will compete in 17 different sports, including air guns, archery, basketball, bowling, field events, handcycling, nine-ball, a motorized wheelchair relay, power soccer, quad rugby, softball, swimming, table tennis, track, trapshooting, weightlifting and wheelchair slalom.

The weeklong event will be webcast at

Highlights for Aug. 1 include the 2011 Disabled Sports, Recreation and Fitness Expo, plus the games kick-off and an opening ceremony. Jessica Lynch, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran and former POW, will attend to meet with the athletes.

The kick-off takes features a slalom exhibition in which wheelchair athletes maneuver around and through difficult obstacles.  The opening ceremony takes place in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center with the lighting of the Games torch to mark the official start of the games.

Other highlights include Kids Day on Aug. 5 where local children with disabilities will meet the athletes and learn about wheelchair sports.

Officials with the Keystone Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System are hosting the 2011 Games.

For more information about the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, visit the games website