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No experience, visual injuries required for Warrior Games participation

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- As the application deadline for the 2011 Warrior Games draws near, some Airmen are wondering if they are even qualified to participate based on their medical conditions and combat experience. They will be surprised to learn the field of qualified applicants is much broader than they think.

The Warrior Games is an Olympic-style competition open to all wounded, ill and injured active, Guard, Reserve, retired or separated Airmen. A potential athlete does not have to have a visible condition, nor does their condition have to be combat related in order for them to compete.

Air Force officials are seeking participants to compete in seven events: archery, cycling, basketball, shooting, swimming, track and field, and volleyball. Even people without athletic experience can apply.

"People just need a desire to compete," said Capt. Oliver George of the Air Force Wounded Warrior program. "There will be two training camps with experienced coaches before the actual games so athletes can practice together and hone their skills in their respective events."

Training camps are scheduled in February and May before nearly 200 warriors from all services compete in the actual games May 16 through 21 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Having no experience did not stop Jennifer Stone from earning the gold medal in shot put during last year's games.

"For someone who doesn't have the (shot put experience) to (then) come out here and hurl that thing like she did was amazing," said Maj. Vanessa Warren, the track and field head coach, following Ms. Stone's win.

The Warrior Games is an official Air Force event and participation in the training camps and the games is being funded by the service.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 11. Air Force officials encourage qualifying Airmen to submit applications as soon as possible. For an application, visit www.woundedwarrior.af.mil.

People need to apply as soon as possible, said Capt. Courtnee Cruz, the Air Force Warrior and Survivor Care policy chief. "

People interested in applying, or who need more information, can send an e-mail to Captain Cruz at courtnee.cruz@pentagon.af.mil, or their recovery care coordinator or their caseworker if they have one. 
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