Sports

June 25, 2018
 

Paralympic, adaptive athletes train at Luke

Senior Airman Ridge Shan
Luke AFB, Ariz.

Several adaptive sports athletes and Paralympic prospects visited Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., to train in preparation for the Desert Challenge Games at Arizona State University from June 10-16, 2018.

As part of a Department of Defense partnership with the International Paralympic Committee, the group of athletes, all veterans, utilized Luke’s numerous athletic and medical facilities to train before competing in discus and shotput events at the annual games.

“I love it,” said Michael Wishnia, 36-year-old Paralympic shotputter and Marine Corps veteran. “This is my fourth year being back here and it’s awesome, because I love the military. The facilities you guys have around here are unbelievable. It’s everything that we could wish and ask for.”

The adaptive sports athletes, most of whom stayed on the base, maintained tight schedules throughout their days, which involved team meetings and medical evaluations in addition to multiple training sessions per day.

“We’re training early in the morning, getting a break at lunch, and then training again in the afternoon,” said Gabby Graves-Wake, 24-year-old sled-hockey and wheelchair track and field athlete, Marine Corps veteran, and Phoenix-native. “My practice schedule is a little different because I do live here, so I’m still doing my daily activities, working, and then training here, but everyone has been really accommodating and we make it work.”

An adaptive athlete and Paralympic prospect throws a discus during training at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., June 13, 2018. Several athletes stayed at Luke to train for the Desert Challenge adaptive sports competition at Arizona State University June 15-16.

Luke’s athletic facilities include baseball, football, and soccer fields, volleyball and basketball courts, an outdoor track, a competition-sized swimming pool, and the Bryant Fitness Center, which includes numerous indoor exercise facilities and equipment.

Aside from the facilities, however, the athletes expressed appreciation for being able to re-immerse themselves in training in a military environment that values people, ideas, and then things.

“Being around the military community in any capacity is always a great thing,” Graves-Wake said. “It kind of brings you back and makes you feel like you’re a part of something again. Getting to train here puts us back in that environment.”

An adaptive athlete and Paralympic prospect throws a discus during the Desert Challenge adaptive sports competition at Arizona State University from June 15-16, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. Multiple veteran athletes competed at the challenge.

The 2018 event, hosted by Arizona Disabled Sports, is an official part of the World Para Athletics Grand Prix and will assist each of the athletes on their route to the 2020 summer Paralympics.

“I’ll be training until Tokyo and probably beyond, because my wife said Paris is the next one and my wife wants to go to Paris,” Wishnia said with a laugh. “So I guess I’m going to 2024 as well, or at least training for it!”
 

Michael Wishnia, Paralympic shotputter and Marine Corps veteran, prepares to throw a shotput during training at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., June 13, 2018. As part of a partnership between the Department of Defense and the International Paralympic Committee, adaptive athletes and Paralympic prospects can utilize sports and medical facilities at military bases to prepare for competitions.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid

New 56th Communications Squadron facility to open in 2020

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid Oscar Siqueiros, Army Corps of Engineers project manager discusses building plans for the new 56th Communication Squadron building, Jan. 14, 2019 at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz....
 
 

New Year’s Resolution: Read about the past for the future

It’s a common refrain today: People don’t read anymore. Gone, it seems, are the days of printed newspapers, as subscriptions have steadily declined and many daily publications have disappeared. It seems all but certain that we live in an era of headlines and newsfeed snippets that offer information designed for the passing glance at phone...
 
 

U.S. military says service members killed in Syria blast

Two U.S. service members, one Department of Defense civilian and one contractor supporting DOD were killed and three service members were injured while conducting a local engagement in Manbij, Syria, Jan. 16, 2019. The troops were killed in an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria, the U.S. military said, an attack that came...