About 150 wheelchair athletes will come to Renton this weekend for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association varsity championships, hosted by Northwest Adaptive Sports, the Seattle Sonics and local Kiwanis clubs.
An opening ceremony is at 8 a.m. Saturday at Renton High School, followed by three days of competition and special events in the school’s gym. For the wheelchair athletes it’s also a chance to meet basketball coaches from colleges around the nation.
And special appearances are planned by national-level Paralympia wheelchair athletes, including Matt Scott of Michigan, a spokesman for Nike in newly released TV ad “No Excuses,” and three-time Hall of Fame paralympian athlete, Randy Snow.
According to Tami English with Northwest Adaptive Sports, the athletes are physically disabled for a variety of reasons, usually permanent bone or muscle damage. However, they aren’t necessarily confined to a wheelchair for everyday living and may stand up from their wheelchairs during the course of the competition and walk away, she said.
Sixteen teams of wheelchair athletes from Seattle, California, Alabama, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey and Wisconsin will compete to be the champion 13- to 18-year-old team, among more than 50 teams across the county.
The Junior Sonics Varsity team returned from competition at the West Coast Conference Championships in Denver, Colo., with a first-place trophy. There they competed against teams from Colorado, California and Arizona.