Champions Made From Adversity recently received a boost when it was named one of 34 founding Paralympic sports clubs by the U.S. Olympic Committee's Paralympic Division.
CMFA, an Evans-based organization, will not receive direct funding from the committee but will benefit from other perks, including the use of nationally known Paralympic athletes for local clinics.
The committee's move is geared toward promoting Paralympics at the grassroots level, CMFA Chairman Jeff Snover said.
"Paralympics used to be an exclusive, elite organization," he said. "They're kind of changing their mind-set now."
Snover said he's hoping the partnership with U.S. Paralympics opens avenues for funding that weren't otherwise available. The U.S. Olympic Committee and the Paralympics share certain sponsors, he said, including Coca Cola.
Snover wants some of the money to trickle down to CMFA for ongoing programs, such as wheelchair softball and rugby.
"One-time clinics are great," he said. "But to get ongoing activities established takes funds. Right now, that's where Champions is lacking."
Snover recently returned from a meeting at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where there was talk on how Paralympics could reach the disabled veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Snover said the number of veterans at the elite level is still minimal, but that could change.
"As they come back injured and wounded, that number is growing," said Snover, who was paralyzed from the waist down after a tree fell on him while he was on active-duty leave from Iraq.
Snover is friends with Grovetown resident Scott Winkler, the world record holder for adaptive shot put. Winkler also is a disabled veteran and has been an example for other Paralypmic athletes.
The committee's new focus isn't only on veterans. It wants to promote awareness among all the community's potential Paralympic athletes.
"We are out there," Snover said. "We're part of a bigger network now."
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