SPORTABLE ATHLETES SELECTED TO U.S. PARALYMPIC TEAMS
Sportable is proud to announce that four athletes, Antoine Craig (track and field), alumna Alexa Halko (track and field), Christian Largo (powerlifting) and alumnus Joey Peppersack (swimming) have been selected to represent U.S. Paralympic Teams at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, August 23 – September 1, 2019.
“It is a tremendous honor to have four Sportable athletes selected to U.S. Paralympic Teams,” commented Hunter Leemon, Sportable Executive Director. “Our main goal is to create opportunities and to free our athletes to see beyond their disabilities. These four athletes personify Sportable’s mission and serve as role models for athletes of all abilities in our community. They have worked incredibly hard to compete at the highest level and we are proud to watch them shine on the international stage.”
Antoine Craig, a sprinter with visual impairment, will be one of sixty athletes and four guides who will represent Team USA in track and field at the Athletics Stadium in the Villa Deportiva Nacional Videna. Under the guidance of U.S. Paralympics Track & Field Parapan American Team Head Coach Joaquim Cruz, Craig will compete in the 100 meter event alongside U.S. Paralympic team Vision Guide Jared Lane.
“Lima is the beginning of a very exciting year for our program,” said Cruz. “The Parapan Am Games will be great preparation for our athletes of all levels to compete internationally ahead of our world championships and ultimately the Paralympic Games next summer.”
Born with retinitis pigmentosa, Craig became visually impaired in 2010 and began participating in Sportable programs such as rowing and road racing four years later. After finishing the Richmond Half Marathon in 2017, he decided to try sprinting. Two years of intense training led to the opportunity to attend the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California in May where he set a new personal record of 11.85 seconds to qualify for Lima.
“To be named to the U.S. Paralympic Track and Field team is a dream come true,” commented Craig. “It is confirmation that I could actually do it and I am proud that I never gave up, never let anyone tell me what I couldn’t do, or shouldn’t do. I firmly believe that you can do anything you want to do, all you have to do is try.”
“I am deeply grateful to my friends, family and volunteers who helped me get to this point, particularly my good friend and Sportable training partner, Jacob Sumner,” added Craig. “I am looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere at my first international competition. It is a long road to Tokyo but I am one step closer to that ultimate goal.”
Rio 2016 Paralympic Silver Medalist and Sportable alumna Alexa Halko will also represent Team USA in Lima track and field. Born with cerebral palsy, Halko is a native of Williamsburg, Virginia. She joined Sportable in 2014 as a member of the youth wheelchair basketball team before discovering her love of wheelchair racing, focusing on sprints and middle distance events.
She began competing internationally in 2015 before becoming the youngest U.S. athlete to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at age 16 where she collected three medals. The 2017 U.S. Paralympic Team’s Female Track Athlete of the Year is currently a student-athlete at the University of Illinois.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Christian Largo was born with spina bifida and joined Sportable through power soccer at the age of 5 before playing several other sports including wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis and rowing. He began powerlifting at age 13, working his way onto the U.S. Para Powerlifting Team and earning an invitation to the 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico City where he earned a silver medal.
Most recently, he returned from his first senior-level international competition, the 2019 World Paralympic Powerlifting Championships in Kazakhstan. He competed in the up to 65kg open division, securing 12th place among 30 lifters with a best attempt of 137kg to qualify for the Parapan American games in Lima.
Sportable alumnus and current member of the Men’s Swimming team at the University of Mary Washington Joey Peppersack will also compete in the 2019 Parapan American Games.
The Parapan American Games take place every four years. Competing in the 2019 Parapan America Games are 1,850 athletes across 17 different sports, making it the largest Games in history.
For more information about the Parapan American Games, visit Lima2019.pe/en. To learn more about Sportable or to join Antoine Craig on his journey as a Vision Guide, visit Sportable.org.