, SD — National senior sports event returns to live competition
After two years of virtual participation at-home, approximately 500 Veterans from across the country are set to compete in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Veterans Golden Age Games, July 18-23, in South Dakota.
Military Veterans aged 55 and older will return to live competition and clinics at multiple venues throughout Sioux Falls.
Through its “Fitness for Life” motto, the National Veterans Golden Age Games motivates Veterans to commit to fitness through daily recreational movement and activity. The rehabilitation event demonstrates the essential value of sports and complements VA rehabilitation programs and year-round training offered to Veterans at VA facilities across the country.
“Inspiring and supporting Veterans to take part in activities they enjoy is crucial for not just their physical health, but also their mental health,” said VA Adaptive Sports and Arts Director Leif Nelson. “Rehabilitation programs like the National Veterans Golden Age Games use sports to motivate Veterans of all abilities as they serve as active and fit role models in their communities.”
During the six-day event, senior Veteran athletes will compete in 14 sports: air pistol, air rifle, badminton, blind disc golf, boccia, cornhole, horseshoes, nine ball, pickleball, powerwalk, shuffleboard, table tennis and track and field. Exhibitions this year include air rifle for those visually impaired and kickball as a team sport.
“The Golden Age Games saved my life,” said Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Air Force Veteran Linda Morgan. “Before the games, you know I was really going downhill. I was scared. The games motivate me to stay active and keep moving. My first year was in 2016 in Detroit. It got me moving and I haven’t missed one game since.”
VA presents the annual event with support from national sponsors, Veterans Canteen Service and other corporate and local sponsors that recognize the role fitness plays in lives of older Americans.
Since 2004, the National Veterans Golden Age Games have been a qualifier for the
National Senior Games, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Medalists of some National Veterans Golden Age Games events can compete further among America's elite senior athletes.
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