Bay Area veterans are getting ready for the Valor Games Far West, a three-day paralympic sports competition that opens in Foster City today.
More than 100 veterans from Martinez to Monterey are participating in a variety of sporting events ranging from archery and powerlifting to a series of cycling events at Candlestick Park.
The Valor Games started in Chicago in 2011 as a way to get disabled veterans and service members involved in paralympic sports clubs and activities in their areas, games spokeswoman Sharon Kelleher said.
The games have since spread throughout the country, with events this year taking place in North Carolina, Texas and, for the first time, in the Bay Area.
“The main idea is to get veterans connected with community resources in their area,” Kelleher said.
She said several participants in this week’s games have been training for months at the Riekes Center in Menlo Park, which two years ago was designated an official Paralympic Sport Club by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“I can tell that they’re really fired up to compete,” Kelleher said. “An event like the Valor Games can really inspire people.”
The competitors’ disabilities fall into various categories, including limb loss, spinal cord injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and visual impairment.
The games are funded in part by the Veterans Administration, which has invested millions of dollars over the years in U.S. Paralympics programs around the country, event spokeswoman Pam Redding said.
The Valor Games Far West opening ceremony was set to get under way at 11 a.m. at Leo J. Ryan Memorial Park in Foster City. The ceremony will be followed by an archery competition in an adjacent meadow.
The competition continues Wednesday at the College of San Mateo and features powerlifting, shot put and discus throws.
Veterans riding all types of cycles will compete Thursday in races at Candlestick Park. Closing ceremonies will be held in the stadium at noon.
Complete schedule information is available online at www.fwwaa.org/valor-games-far-west.
Chris Cooney, Bay City News