National Junior Disability Championship Comes to Rochester

Posted at: 07/08/2013 7:13 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- They've traveled across the country and now the National Junior Disability Championship is here in Rochester. The group Wheel Chair and Armature Sports USA is a group of roughly 160 competitors from around the state. Those who compete are either physically or mentally disabled.

It's a full week of heated competition. "I don't want to get cocky, but I’m  hoping to break a record in the 400 meter," said track and field athlete Matthew Fertig.

There are 6 different sports competitions throughout the week, one of them Monday was table tennis. “It’s both fun and competitive," said Isac Sullivan. "We go across the county. This year, we're here in Minnesota and we're hoping to develop a legacy here so that we can develop more programs for the disabled in this area," said one of the organizers, Debbie Armento.

Those involved are kids and teens who have either physical or mental disabilities, but as you see, they let nothing hold them back. "We have put our hard work into all of this," said Sullivan.

Their hard work is paying off in more ways than one. "I’ve been very blessed to have the people supporting me, pushing me, believing me, and most important, I believe in myself,” said Fertig. He has been involved for 9 years now and says his coaches have changed his outlook on life. "When you know, I was down, they got my spirits up and told me I could do it," said Fertig.

"It gives them enough encouragement and self-esteem to want to go far for whatever they want, to reach for the sky," said Armento.

Participants are 23 and under. To see the schedule for the rest of the week, or to learn more about getting involved you can visit; wasusa.org.