Illinois named USOC Paralympic training site

By Daily Illini Staff Report

The University of Illinois has been named an official U.S. Paralympic training site by the United States Olympic Committee.

According to a press release from the committee, the designation was given to the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services inside the College of Applied Health Sciences at Illinois.

The University received a $160,000 grant donated by BP, which was announced Friday at the USOC annual assembly in Chicago. The wheelchair training facility will be getting new and upgraded equipment.

“We are pleased to support the University of Illinois and its dynamic wheelchair program in a more formal manner,” said Cathy Sellers, U.S. Paralympics track and field high performance director, in a press release. “The program has produced many Paralympic athletes who have reached the podium and we look forward to its continued success.”

Illinois has 22 athletes currently training on campus, 12 of which are U.S. Paralympians. The University wheelchair track and field team was well-represented at the 2012 Paralympic Games where it earned 10 medals. Tatyana McFadden, 2014 graduate, brought home three gold medals and a bronze, while current junior Raymond Martin earned four gold medals. McFadden also medaled in the 2014 winter games in Sochi.

“We are excited about the opportunity to deepen our relationship with the United States Olympic Committee by becoming one of its elite Paralympic training facilities,” said Tanya Gallagher, dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences, in a press release. “Since athletes from our program at Illinois participated in the first Paralympic Games we have had a sustained commitment to the world-wide recognition and celebration of athletic ability that these games represent. We are honored to have been selected as a training site and for the support we received from BP.”