Proving that anything is possible, three Red Deer athletes will showcase their martial arts skills at an international sporting platform next month.
Seanna Corrigan, 40, Miles Curry, 46, and Tanya Michalak, 43, will head to Ecuador for the Inas Global Games.
Inas is the International Federation for sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment.
For the past five years, the trio have been part of a group of 15 athletes with developmental disabilities who have trained once a week at Master Rim’s Taekwondo on Taylor Drive.
Corrigan, Curry and Michalak will compete for medals in the demonstration of para taekwondo where they will each compete in poomsae (a pattern or form of movements).
All three said they are looking forward to the competition and travelling to South America. They have stepped up their training in recent weeks to get ready for the games.
Michalak, a blue belt, said she loves the self-defence aspect and improving her self-esteem through the sport.
“I am looking forward to getting there and kicking some butt,” laughed Michalak.
The competition is billed as the world’s largest sporting event for elite para-athletes with an intellectual disability.
Some 1,000 athletes from around the world will compete in nine sports including athletics, basketball, cycling, rowing, swimming and tennis.
They were selected to participate in the competition because of their skill levels by Master Seoungmin Rim, who was invited to send athletes to the competition last year.
Coach Sandy Hofer said she is looking forward to showing the world what these athletes can do when they put their mind to it and work hard.
The athletes are supported by Cosmos Group of Companies, a non-profit group that provides supports such as volunteerism, community access and employment to adults with developmental disabilities.
A group of seven from Red Deer including support workers, athletes and coaches will travel to Ecuador on Sept. 18. The demonstration event is slated for Sept. 24.
The week-long games are held from Sept. 20 to Sept. 27.
“Overall it is a great experience for them to be able to gain that confidence and know that they have the capability and skill to compete at this level,” said Angela McKenna, a Cosmos support worker. “We are just excited to be part of their journey and to see how far they have come in the last five years.”
Cosmos helped organize and pay for the trip for the athletes. They are raising money to send the two coaches.
Carla Lawrence, a Cosmos program director, said you never really know what inclusion means until an opportunity like this arrives.
A fundraiser at Bo’s Bar and Grill is slated for Aug. 22 to raise money for the trip. Tickets are $20.
To find out more about Cosmos visit www.cosmosreddeer.ca or the games visit www.inas.org