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Veterans Compete In National Wheelchair Games In Cincinnati

More than 600 veterans are in Cincinnati this week competing in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. It's billed as the world's largest annual wheelchair multi-sport and rehabilitation event.The competition is organized by the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Athletes from the U.S., Puerto Rico and Great Britain must compete in at least four events.

Two competitors navigate a tricky obstacle near the end of a slalom course during a demonstration on Fountain Square Monday.
Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
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Two competitors navigate a tricky obstacle near the end of a slalom course during a demonstration on Fountain Square Monday.

PVA President David Zurfluh calls the games a life changing event for many veterans. "For the newer athletes... they're the people that were down at their lowest point, they're going to be mentored by older veterans. They're going to pick them up and show them that they can do incredible things with their lives and you're literally going to see people's lives changed during this week."

Zurfluh isn't just national president; he's a competitor as well excelling in the shooting sports.

"Competing with fellow veterans, you just have that camaraderie with each other," Zurfluh says. "You're pushing each other. It's not so much the wins, it's just trying to do the best that you can as a person. And if you've felt like you've left everything out there, it's really a rewarding experience."

Athletes took over Fountain Square Monday to demonstrate a Slalom event featuring a course with obstacles to climb and weave through.

More than 3,000 local volunteers are assisting with the games being held at the Duke Energy Convention Center and various venues around town.

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Two spotters follow an athlete through the slalom course to ensure the wheelchair athlete's safety.
Tana Weingartner / WVXU
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Two spotters follow an athlete through the slalom course to ensure the wheelchair athlete's safety.
Athletes must manuever through various obstacles during this slalom event.
Tana Weingartner / WVXU
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Athletes must manuever through various obstacles during this slalom event.
Tana Weingartner / WVXU
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