The 2022 Angel City Games presented by The Hartford offered 16 adaptive sports for athletes to compete in. The Games presented by The Harford moved to Cerritos College and continued to promote competition and camaraderie among adaptive athletes.
“The ultimate goal for the games is to offer all Summer Paralympic sports so it becomes kind of a Paralympic games but for everyone, all ages and all abilities and all skill levels,” said Angel City Sports CEO and founder Clayton Frech.
Along with having clinics, there was The Games Experience Zone where adaptive athletes and allies could try out a myriad of adaptive sports, including rowing, table tennis, and handcycling.
Attendees could try out para powerlifting, boccia, adaptive strength, and shot put among other sports. Among the festivities was the Fun Run & Roll hosted by the Angel City Sports Youth Leadership Council. The event was a fundraiser where participants can roll, walk, or run four times around the track. They could donate or buy raffle tickets to win prizes. Frech noted how his son, Paralympian Ezra Frech, is a member of the Youth Leadership Council.
“They have to fundraise through their networks,” Clayton said. “Teaching kids some leadership and philanthropy and fundraising and sales and finding sponsors.”
The Hartford and Paralympic gold medalist Megan Blunk gifted young athletes Rosy Trujillo and Carmelo Dawson with custom-fit wheelchairs.
“The Hartford is extremely proud to partner with Angel City Sports to provide adaptive equipment and raise the awareness of equity and sports,” Blunk said.
Paralympic gold medalist Matt Scott has been attending the Angel City Games through the years. He has noticed how the young athletes that he has mentored have developed.
“I’m not here only to promote being a Paralympian, I’m here to be the springboard for these kids on their Paralympic journey and really change their lives for the better,” Scott said. “Events like this gives kids the confidence to not only be athletes, but also just be out in society.”
Keyon Carter brought his seven-year-old daughter Mirai Noye to the Games for the first time after her grandmother was informed about the event.
“I did wheelchair basketball,” Noye said. “I was running too.”
Carter noted how that weekend was the first time she was able to run on her prosthetic leg.
“I actually like that it’s given us opportunities for her to be able to see other kids so she knows that she’s not alone,” he said. “It’s a big plus for me, plus you get to meet different people from all over.”
LA28, the Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic games, showed their support by attending the Games. The 2028 Olympics will be the first time Los Angeles will host the Paralympics.
“We’re really big on disability inclusion, really big on creating more access to sport for young people that identify with having a physical disability,” said LA28 community relations manager Corine Taylor. “We’re here supporting Angel City because they do all the great work.”
Anthony Pone, who plays professional wheelchair basketball in France, was focusing on shot put during the Games. He hopes to qualify for Team USA for the 2024 Paralympics. While he attends the games to catch up with friends, he also enjoys teaching his skills to young athletes.
“That’s what it’s all about, just paying it forward,” Pone said. “Everything that you learned before, coming up in the sport, you got to give it back to somebody. Why not let it be the kids?”