FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – For months, or even years, athletes from around the world have been training in hopes of earning their spot in the 2020 Paralympics. Over the next two weeks, those athletes will find out if Fort Wayne is the place that that’ll happen.
Hundreds of goalball and blind judo athletes and their coaches are in Fort Wayne for the 2019 International Blind Sports Federation Goalball and Judo International Qualifier.
This is the first time the event has been hosted inside the United States and it’s expected to be the largest international event in Fort Wayne’s history.
Turnstone and the United States Association of Blind Athletes have come together to host the event at various sites around the city.
Competitions begin Tuesday, July 2 and continue until Tuesday, July 9 at Turnstone, Indiana Tech, and the Grand Wayne Convention Center. You can find a schedule of the competitions here.
Around 600 volunteers from the community are helping to make sure everything runs smoothly at each location.
Volunteer slots are still available for those interested in getting involved. CLICK HERE to sign up.
Close to 40 countries will be represented during the games. As a way to welcome them to the U.S. and the City of Fort Wayne, there will be a Welcome Ceremony at Parkview Field on Tuesday, July 2.
The ceremony will begin at 7:30 p.m. with gates opening at 6 p.m.
The ceremonial event will feature a Parade of Countries and remarks from Turnstone, United States Association of Blind Athletes, International Blind Sports Federation, and other officials in attendance.
Team USA claimed their first-ever mixed team silver medal at the 2019 International Blind Sports Federation Judo and Goalball International Qualifier on Friday. The event made its debut at the competition.
Eight teams competed in the historic event. Ukraine beat China 4-2, and then Brazil 4-1 to win gold against the USA. Brazil won bronze, and China took home a second bronze.
The Voices of Unity Youth Choir and Sweetwater All Stars band will also be there to provide entertainment for guests.
Tickets cost $5 per person. Children 12 and under are free but do require a ticket.
For more information about the IBSA Goalball and Judo International Qualifier, including tickets and a more detailed schedule of events and locations, visit www.ibsafortwayne2019.com.