By Eden Laikin
The 2017 Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged opened yesterday at the Mitchel Athletic Complex Butler Building – kicking off a weekend of competition and demonstrations at Mitchell Field and at Nassau Community College.
With the generous support of various corporations, more than 1,000 athletes will compete in track, field, slalom, archery, swimming, wheelchair basketball and table tennis. Participants, ranging from ages 5 to 21, face disabilities including blindness, visual impairments, deafness, hearing impairments, spinal cord injuries, amputations, cerebral palsy, dwarfism and other physical challenges.
This year’s Keynote Speaker was: Lora Webster, Four-time Paralympian, Gold Medalist, Sitting Volleyball World Champion. After the National Anthem, performed by the Coalition for Disabled Musicians, County Executive Mangano announced: “We Declare The 2017 Games Open!”
Sponsors this year include Elias Properties, Geico, Friendly Sons of St Patrick, the NY Yankees Foundation, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, NICE Bus, Hofstra, King Kullen and Shake Shack.
“Our generous individuals and corporate neighbors keep the Games alive and successful each year,” Mangano said at the opening ceremony. “But these Games are dedicated to the spirit of our athletes; each of you is an inspiration in courage and commitment to achieve his or her own personal best. To all of the athletes gathered here tonight, I wish you much success in your competitions. Go out, make some memories and enjoy the experience.”