Georgia Strikes Gold at 2011 National Veterans Wheelchair Games
More than 600 disabled Veteran athletes will compete in a variety of sport competitions at the 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Pittsburgh, Aug. 1-6. The event is presented each year by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). “The National Veterans Wheelchair Games feature some of the most competitive and accomplished wheelchair athletes in the world,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki
Less than two hours into the first day of competition at the 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games, the Georgia contingent from the Atlanta VA Medical Center had won one of the first Gold medals presented by Games organizers. The team from the Atlanta VA is part of a larger Southeast PVA team representing Georgia and a number of surrounding states.
Marvin Brown, from Atlanta, captured the Gold in the Nine Ball competition. Brown started off slow losing his first game, but rallied in the round-robin tournament to win the Gold. Later in the day, teammate Peter Bassette also won Gold in a different competition division of Nine Ball. Bassette had to play through four rounds of opponents and was forced into a third game tie-breaker against Michael Minor of California to take home the second Gold of the day for the SEPVA squad.
Atlanta VA athletes also participated in Bowling, Basketball and Air Guns. Jacques Swafford, Peter Bassette, William Treadway and Rodney Rosco all participated in the Bowling. The competition continues on Wednesday.
Marvin Brown, hoping for a double on day one, also participated in the evening Air Gun competition. The shooting competition is also a two-day event with final results not yet available.
In the final competition of Day One was the first round of the Wheelchair Basketball tournament. Jacques Swafford represented the SEPVA squad on Team White. One of six teams playing in round one, made up of players from throughout the United States. Team White rolled to a 20-10 lead at half time against Team Green, but couldn’t keep the momentum going in the second half. Team Green pulled out a 31-25 victory.
Day 2 at the 2011 National Veterans Wheelchair Games
The second day of competition was a slow day for the Atlanta VA contingent. Marvin Brown, yesterday’s Gold medal winner, competed in bowling.
Jesse Hope’s slalom event was rescheduled to Thursday, while the third game for Jacques Swafford and Team White in the wheelchair basketball is scheduled for Thursday night. Jacques Swafford is representing the SEPVA squad on Team White. Yesterday, Team White rolled to a 20-10 lead at half time against Team Green, but couldn’t keep the momentum going in the second half. Team Green pulled out a 31-25 victory. In a second game, they pulled out a 30-28 victory of Team Red. Thursday they play for the medal round. If they win, they advance to Saturday’s medal round.
The big competition on Day two was Jesse Hope in weightlifting. Jesse was in the Division 1, Open Class, 220 pound weight class. Jesse’s first lift was 175 lbs. and it went up relatively easily. His second attempt was 225 lbs. Although he lifted the weight, his lift was uneven and ruled a no-lift. He decided to keep his third attempt at 225 instead of increasing it. SEPVA teammate Ronnie McFadden from South Carolina was also lifting at 225 so Jesse had a few minutes to rest and prepare for his final attempt. McFadden also mishandled the bar and was called for a no-lift at 225, his second lift.
Jesse’s third attempt was successful but unfortunately was, again, called a no-lift, this time because he failed to re-rack the bar properly. McFadden decided to increase the weight on his last attempt since he easily lifted 225 on his second lift, despite the no-lift call. McFadden’s decision to request 235 lbs. for his third and final lift was correct. He successfully lifted it to win the Silver medal. Jesse Hope settled for the Bronze medal.
Day 3 at the 2011 National Veterans Wheelchair Games
Jesse Hope’s slalom event, which was rescheduled from Wednesday, started Day 3 of competition. Jesse successfully completed the course, but final results were not available in time for this posting.
Peter Bassette, the Atlanta competitor in Table Tennis, found himself in a strong division. His opening game in the double elimination tournament was against former National team member Patrick McDonald of Madison WI. In a best of five format, Peter lost his first match 3-1. His second match was for the bronze medal and was against Steve O’Brian of Tucson, AZ. Peter rebounded off his first round loss and won the Bronze after winning 3 of 4 games.
Bassette also represented Atlanta in the Softball competition. Using the same format as the other team sports, players are assigned to teams. Pater was rostered with Team Black and played second base. Team Black started off strong by scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the first. Peter reached on a single and scored one of the three runs. From that point on Team Red dominated. They shut down Team White’s offense, while scoring the 3 in the 2nd, 2 in the 3rd, 5 in the 6th and 4 in the 7th to win 14-3. Peter did hit a double his second time up, one of only two extra base hits for Team Black. Peter and Team Black play Team Green for the Bronze on Friday, while Team Red will Team White play for the Gold on Saturday.
If Team Black wins the Bronze on Friday that would be Peter’s fourth medal in these Games. Five events, four medals… not a bad week in Pittsburgh.
Jacques Swafford continued to represent the SEPVA squad on Team White in masters division wheelchair basketball. Coming off a 1-1 record from day one of the basketball tournament, Team White needed a win to advance to Saturday’s medal round. It was win or go home and Team White fell short in a tough 39-12 loss.