Para-golf in the Paralympics—WHY NOT?!?
By Edmund Q. Sylvester, United States Adaptive Golf Alliance (USAGA)
The vision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is, "To enable Para athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the World." The World Disabled Golf Championship—hosted by the United States Adaptive Golf Alliance (USAGA) in Portland, Oregon on August 15-18, 2016—did just that.
After more than a century in Olympic hibernation, traditional golf was just reinstated at the Games in Rio. We think it's time that para-athletes compete for the gold in Para-Golf
Will Para-golf be a Paralympic Contender?
At the World Championship, 77 golf athletes with disabilities from 10 countries competed, clearly highlighting and illustrating the vision of the IPC. It was the third world championship with previous world championships held in South Africa (2012) and Japan (2014).
The Championship was an amazing display of skill, athleticism and courage that I have ever seen in the game of golf, and I was a very good golfer with a six national handicap. It laid the platform for golf athletes from twenty nine Disabled Golf Associations (DGA) located in five continents as being ready for a truly international and inspiring event. It was strongly felt among all these disabled golf athletes from around the world that Para-golf should be recognized as a sport in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
If accomplished, it would excite the 57 million people with disabilities in the United States and serve as stimulating example for the 18 million with physical disabilities who want to play golf* but don't. The Games would encourage those who may not think of trying...as well illustrating for those willing to move beyond their disability, a new opportunity for joy and freedom.
About the Author:
Edmund Q. "E.Q." Sylvester is the Chairman of the United States Adaptive Golf Alliance (USAGA). He is a lifelong golfer and triple amputee who has devoted much of his retirement to helping children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities get out on the golf course. His 10 grandchildren call him the "bionic grandfather."
*PGA of America / National Alliance for Accessible Golf (NAAG)Pre-Register for Abilities Expo Today...It's Free!