National Veterans Golden Age Games

Sunday Abraham Last year in Des Moines, Iowa, 68 year old Army Veteran Sunday Abraham from Washington, D.C., participated in table tennis, along with 1/4 Mile Cycling, 1/2 Mile Cycling and Checkers.

More than 900 Veterans will compete in the National Veterans Golden Age Games in Hawaii during the last week of May.

The Golden Age Games are the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation program in the United States. It is one of the most progressive rehabilitative senior sports programs in the world, offering 14 different sports and recreational activities.

It is the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.

“Age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

– Mark Twain

Sports and fitness are vital ingredients of VA’s National Rehabilitation Special Events. Physical activity and friendly competition engage the mind as well as the body, and recreation therapy fills a special need in the lives of older patients at VA Medical Centers across the country.

VA research and clinical experience verify that physical activity is particularly important to the health, recovery and overall quality of life for older people.

The National Veterans Golden Age Games serve as a qualifying event for competition in the National Senior Games in a number of competitive events.

James Flanders Among the most senior of seniors in 2010 was Army Veteran James Flanders, from Fayetteville, N.C. Flanders, 94, is seen here in the discus competition. He also competed in the horseshoes, bowling and shuffleboard events

The Games will be held May 26–31, 2011, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Veterans age 55 or older who receive health care at any VA medical facility are eligible to compete.

The Games are sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Canteen Service and Help Hospitalized Veterans.

The National Veterans Golden Age Games encourage VA patients over the age of 55 to make physical activity a central part of their lives. They support VA’s comprehensive recreation and rehabilitation therapy programs.

The event is a national showcase for the preventive and therapeutic value of sports, fitness and recreation for all older Americans.

Competitive events include:

Swimming, Cycling, Golf, Shot-put, Discus, 10-meter air rifle, Table tennis, Dominoes, Shuffleboard, Horseshoes, Nine-ball, Bowling, Checkers, and Croquet.

Jesus Garza Making his mark in the horseshoe event, Veteran Jesus Garza, 64, also participated in the Air Rifle and Nine-ball competitions in the 2010 Golden Age Games.

Each event has seven age categories for participation, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, and 85 and up.

Additionally, Veterans with visual impairments and those who use wheelchairs for mobility may compete in the Visually Impaired or Wheelchair divisions.

This year the Games are hosted by the VA Pacific Islands Healthcare System and the VA Sierra Pacific Network.

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