Angel City Sports will be hosting the Firecracker Fund Paralympic Sports Day on April 23 from 2:00P.M. to 7:00P.M. at the Terasaki Budokan in the Little Tokyo district. Paralympians David Brown, Marybai Huking, Robert Tanaka, Eric Duda, and Mackenzie Soldan will be in attendance to help teach participants a myriad of adaptive sports.
Angel City Sports recently earned a grant from the Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker organization and is hosting the Sports Day with the support of the Asian Pacific Community Fund. The event is open to people of all backgrounds and abilities as well as visual impairments while promoting adaptive sports in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
“I’m really excited to try this out and to have a targeted event,” said Angel City Sports founder and CEO Clayton Frech. “Hopefully this is the beginning of more events like this where we can target different communities and help all of society understand that adaptive sports exist.”
Huking recently retired from Team USA womens’ goalball after helping them win a silver medal in Tokyo and a bronze during the Rio Games. This will be the first Angel City Sports event that she is participating in and she will be teaching goalball.
“We’re going to go through a couple different sessions of generally explaining the sport and introducing them to it,” Huking said. “A lot of people just haven’t heard of the sport goalball because it is played by such a small group of people, that being those with visual impairments.”
Olympians Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan inspired Huking to compete in figure skating and ultimately goalball. Now, she is in a position to be an inspiration to youth.
“Through my experience with sports and having all of these opportunities for growth and seeing ways that other people really stepped up as mentors for me is really inspiring,” she said. “That’s what sports and adaptive sports primarily are all about is … being able to pass on that information.”
Brown, who has competed in the T11 100m and 200m in the Paralympics, is also a blind soccer ambassador for the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA). He will help participants become more knowledgeable of blind soccer by running drills.
“It’s an honor, it is a privilege too at the same time very humbling to be able to help others be able to play a sport and to learn about a new sport,” Brown said. “I didn’t really have a lot of mentorship growing up so I take pride in being able to help other athletes.”
The Tokyo Paralympics was Brown’s third Games, he won a gold medal in the T11 100m during the Rio Paralympics. Brown’s advice to the youth is to try different types of sports.
“This is why I’m pursuing a career in blind soccer because there’s a good correlation there,” he said. “Being able to do various sports also helps with athleticism and the more athletic you are, the less risk of injury.”
For more information about the Firecracker Fund Paralympic Sports Day, visit www.angelcitysports.org.