U.S. Athletes Gear Up for 2006 IPC Athletics World Championships

In Sports, Wheelin' and Dealin' by Beth Bourgeois

Athletes to Watch on Sunday

In the ambulatory division, Paralympian April Holmes (Chula Vista, Calif./Somerdale, N.J./women’s T44), will be running the women’s 400m, a race in which she currently owns the world record with a time of 1:03.85.

A first-timer to World Championships, Donald Kosakowski ( Oxford , Ct. /T46) is expected to have a strong showing in the 200m quarter finals.

Abe Sauer ( Johnstown , Colo. /T46) and Athletics World Championship second-timer (2002) James McLellan ( Greenville , N.C. /T46) will both be competing in the men’s 1500m semifinal.

Paralympian Peter Gottwald ( West Chester , Pa. /T13) will also compete in the 1500m, but in the T13 finals.

Shot put thrower Ed Cockrell (New Athens, Ill./F44), who won a silver at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, will be looking for another piece of hardware in his signature shot put event on Sunday.

Also throwing the shot put on Sunday is Paralympian Jill Kennedy ( Charlottesville , Va. /F40) .

In the wheelchair events, U.S. Paralympian Jacob Heilveil ( Longmont , Colo. /T54) will compete in the 1000m race. He’ll be followed by Jordan Bird ( Wichita , Ks./T54) and Brandon Caswell ( Pendleton , Ore. /T54) in the 400m.

Also in the 400m – T53 division – are U.S. Paralympians Adam Bleakney ( Champaign , Ill. /T53) and Joshua George ( Champaign , Ill. /T53). Just last week, George set the new world record (00:49:95) in this very race at the Swiss Nationals in Arbon , Switzerland .

Last, but definitely not least, is wheelchair racer Steven Toyogi (Redmond, Wash.) who is competing in his first World Championships and will run both the 400 & 5000m races on Sunday.

Fast Facts/Roster Breakdown:

High school athletes (3):

Jordan Bird ( Wichita , Ks.) – Northeast Magnet High School , senior

Brandon Caswell ( Pendleton , Ore. ) – Pendleton High School , senior

Tatyana McFadden ( Clarksville , Md. ) – Atholton High School , junior

College student-athletes:

Ryan Fann ( Brush Creek , Tenn. ) – Tennessee State University

Donald Kosakowski ( Oxford , Ct. ) – Southern Connecticut State University

Jessi Galli ( Urbana , Ill. ) – Master’s/ University of Illinois

Joshua George ( Urbana , Ill. ) – University of Illinois

Elexis Gillette ( Raleigh , N.C. ) – East Carolina University

Peter Gottwald ( West Chester , Pa. ) – West Chester University

Erik Hightower ( Peoria , Ariz. ) – Glendale Community College

Amanda McGrory ( Urbana , Ill. ) – University of Illinois

James McLellan ( Greenville , N.C. ) – East Carolina University

Sabra Hawkes ( Rockport , Mass. ) – Hartwick College

Rachelle Renaud ( Palm Beach Gardens , Fl.) – Palm Beach Atlantic College

LeAnn Sagmeister ( Jacksonville , Fl.) – University of Florida

Steven Toyogi ( Redmond , Wash. ) – University of Arizona

Active duty Military athlete:

Casey Tibbs ( San Diego , Calif. / San Antonio , Texas ) – Navy

Petty Officer 1st Class, Health Promotion – U.S. Navy and U.S. Paralympian.

In 2004, Tibbs made history by becoming the first active duty military member to compete in a Paralympic Games. He topped off the achievement with two medals: silver/pentathlon and gold/4x100m relay.

Tibbs was recently re-located from San Antonio , Texas to the Naval Medical Center San Diego, Calif., where he works with the hospital and its Morale, Welfare and Recreation program, administering and running fitness programs for members of the military who’ve been injured while on active duty. As a fellow amputee, Tibbs can relate to the patients and serves as a mentor during the rehabilitation process.

A huge perk of his new position — the hospital allows Tibbs to split his time between work and training.

He spends 20-30 hours per week working and the rest on the track or at the base facilities focusing on his training. Tibbs trains with the resident athletes and national team coach, Joaquim Cruz at the United State Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Chula Vista , Calif.

Tibbs lost his right below the knee as the result of a motorcycle accident in March of 2001. He is married to wife Robyn.

Military Veteran athlete:

Five-time Paralympian Gabriel Diaz de Leon – U.S. Army, 1928-1984

Leading the World – U.S. Athletes Holding World Records

U.S. Paralympian April Holmes ( San Diego , Calif. /Somerdale, N.J./women’s T44) currently owns the 100m (12.98), 200m (27.10) and 400m (1:03:85) world records.

Two-time U.S. Paralympian Danny Andrews ( Tucson , Ariz. ) owns two world records in the men’s T44 division: 400m (51.24) and 800m (02:07,18).

Two-time U.S. Paralympian Marlon Shirley ( San Diego , Calif. /men’s T44) holds three world records: 100m (11.08), 200m (22.65) and long jump (6.79m = 22’4″).

U.S. Paralympian Jeff Skiba ( Chula Vista , Calif. / Sammamish , Wash. /F44) remains untouched in the high jump world record (2.09m = 6’10 ¼”) – a title he’s held for several years. With his hard work, training and recent finishes, it’s likely that Skiba could soon earn the world record in long jump as well.

In the field events, two-time U.S. Paralympian (2000/powerlifting & 2004/track & field) Jill Kennedy ( Charlottesville , Va. ) owns two world records in the women’s F40 division:

discus – 19,23 and javelin – 23,07

Chula Vista OTC U.S. Paralympics Track & Field Ambulatory Residence Program

Several members of the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Team have taken residency in southern California , at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista . Under the guidance of three-time Olympian ( Brazil ) Joaquim Cruz , the Head Coach of the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field Ambulatory Resident Program, the squad trains alongside Olympic track and field hopefuls and utilizes the many services available through the training center resident athlete program.

The six resident athletes include: Josiah Jamison ( Vance , S.C. ), Royal Mitchell ( Ardmore , Pa./not present at World Championships due to injury), Nelacey Porter ( Portland , Ore. ), Marlon Shirley ( San Diego , Calif. ), Jeff Skiba ( Sammamish , Wash. ) and Casey Tibbs ( San Antonio , Texas ).

Complete competition results can be found at www.eurochamps.nl.