The Mesa Association of Sports for the Disabled (MASD) organized a sports event for individuals with disabilities Friday at the Tempe Town Lake Marina. Person who registered as AzDS athletes had the opportunity to partake in a kayaking event. The AzDS kayaking season which started in September, had already organized three past kayaking events, with Friday’s event being the fourth.
“Kayaking is a watersport that involves paddling using a double-bladed oar and a small boat known as a kayak,” according to the Active Times, a website about the importance of living an active life.
Nina Bernardo, program supervisor for AzDS said the purpose of the event is to help develop participants’ self-esteem and improve their social lives while being active. “Kayaking is a kind of sport in which you cannot really tell that an athlete is disabled,” Bernardo said.
The kayaking event which began at 5 p.m., involved about 10 participants. The event had athletes from age six through to adults. Kayak coaches were available to supervise the athletes.
Some of the participants said it was their first time of kayaking. Brett Rosinsky said even though it was his first time, he really enjoyed it. “It was very relaxing,” Rosinsky said. He said he will be going back to kayak with the AzDS athletes in the next event.
Other participants also said they had been kayaking for some time. Jackson Lindmark, who has been kayaking for 12 years said the last time he did kayaking was two weeks ago. He said he is looking forward to participating in the next kayaking event that would be organized.
The Mesa Association of Sports for the Disabled (MASD), which does business as Arizona Disabled Sports (AzDS), is a non-profit organization that provides sports and recreation activities for persons with all types of disabilities.
Programs are organized for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, as well as individuals with physical disabilities.
“The association provides year round sports training and competition through Team Mesa adaptive programs for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, and sports and recreation opportunities are provided for individuals with physical disabilities through programs sanctioned by Wheelchair and Ambulatory Sports USA, Disabled Sports USA, US Association of Blind Athletes and US Paralympics,” according to the AzDS website.
AzDS programs are open to all persons with disabilities, irrespective of the town they come from. The business name, AzDS, was adopted to encourage athletes outside of Mesa to also participate in the MASD programs.
“Participants in the programs have resided throughout the metropolitan Phoenix area and the state of Arizona. Non-residents that register for the Team Mesa programs will pay a slightly higher registration rate with the City of Mesa Parks, Recreation & Commercial Facilities,” according to the AzDS website.
Bernardo said kayaking events the AzDS organizes does not receive and sponsorship, but other sporting events receives grants from organizations such as Disabled Sports USA.
Other sporting events organized by the AzDS includes cycling, bowling, basketball, soccer and swimming.