16th Annual Rochester River Challenge
The 16th Annual Rochester River Challenge was held Saturday at the Genesee Waterways Center.
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The challenge is a disabled USA Warfighter sports event and the largest outrigger canoe sprint race on the east coast with 40 teams this year.
Organizers say the event has had lasting repercussions on the paralympic level.
"We are very proud that in 1997, a 9-year-old girl from the City of Rochester paddled right here on these waters, and she inspired the concept as out rigger canoeing as a paralympic sport," says Jan Whitaker, an organizer of the Rochester River Challenge. "The International Paralympic Committee voted to accept it, so out rigger canoeing, which is going to be called Va-a, will be the new paralympic sport in 2016 in Rio, and to the best of my knowledge it started because of our movement here in Rochester for a 9-year-old girl, so Rochester can be very proud."
The event was organized by Cape Ability Outrigger Ohana, a local chapter of Disabled Sports USA and Paralympic Sports Club Western New York.