Rochester hosts National Junior Disability Championships - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Rochester hosts National Junior Disability Championships

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47)--More than 150 athletes from 28 states will compete in a variety of sports including archery, pentathlon, power lifting, swimming and table tennis. 

Steve Koziel arrived in Rochester this morning with his team, "Lightning Wheels", after a 20 hour bus ride from New Jersey.  Koziel will be competing in swimming, pentathlon and the most popular event at the games-track and field. 

"I think it was more mental that I had to prove to myself that I was capable of doing these things," said Koziel.

His coach, Trisha Yurochko, says Koziel has been a natural team leader from the moment he signed up.

"It's not just an athletic team. It's teaching kids from, particularly a young age up, that they can be independent," said Yurochko.  "They have self-esteem. They can do things."

The NJDC tournament features athletes, ages 7-21, who have a physical difference, such as, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, amputations, muscular dystrophy, dwarfism, blindness and congenital anomalies.

"It gave me a place to be with other teams with similar situations like mine. It gave me an opportunity to get rid of all that excess energy that I've had," said Koziel.  "It gave me a channel to push that energy in a positive direction."

The events will be held throughout Rochester at the Rochester Rec Center, Century High School and the UCR Regional Sports Center.  To view a schedule of events you can visit the NJDC web site at

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