CAF, SDTC Event Draws Worldwide Attendance

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By Betta Ferrendelli

Exclusive live coverage from  The O&P EDGE.

The Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge (SDTC) and the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) event, October 18-20, brought together able-bodied and challenged athletes of all ages to participate in sports and experience a weekend filled with fun and inspiration. The 26th annual event drew more than 5,000 participants, spectators, and volunteers who traveled to La Jolla, California.

The Celebration of Abilities awards got the event off to an inspiring start Friday evening with Hoda Elshorbagy, the first woman athlete from Egypt to pursue wheelchair racing, who was honored with CAF's trailblazer of the year award. Elshorbagy also received a grant from CAF for a pink Top End racing wheelchair. "I have no words to express the happiness I feel," Elshorbagy said as she received her award and new racing chair. "I am so thrilled to come to San Diego and attend this great event." She also had the opportunity to train on her new racing chair in San Diego with Carlos Moleda, CAF ambassador and coach. Elshorbagy hopes to represent Egypt in the 2020 Paralympics in Japan, August 25-September 6.

The event continued Saturday morning with adaptive sports clinics where athletes participated in running and mobility, wheelchair tennis, and adaptive swimming clinics. The swim portion of SDTC was held on Saturday at La Jolla Shores.

There were also some milestones marking the 2018-2019 year: CAF's largest grant distribution in its history was awarded for adaptive sports equipment, coaching, training, and competition travel to 3,260 individuals with physical challenges across 103 sports, 50 states, and 42 countries. The youngest athlete to receive a grant was four years old and the oldest was 77. Twenty-nine percent of CAF grants went to athletes under age 18. A total of $4.8 million in grants were distributed between 2018 and 2019, and more than $112 million in grants have been awarded since CAF began 26 years ago. Since 2015, more than 700 memberships to the YMCA of San Diego have been provided to local challenged athletes.