Wheelchair Sports Federation | Adaptive Sports Organization
21st Annual Al Youakim Wheelchair Basketball Tournament (NJ) Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
The 21st Annual Al Youakim Wheelchair Basketball Tournament had 5 teams participating on Saturday October 31, 2015 and Sunday November 1, 2015 at the Hackensack (NJ) Middle School. They placed:

1st Place - Nassau Kings
2nd Place - Bulova Nets
3rd Place - New England Blazers
4th Place - Brooklyn Nets
5th Place - Jr Nets
Individual Awards went to the following:
Class I Al Youakim All-Star - Errol Samuels - Brooklyn Nets
Class I Al Youakim All-Star - Mark James - Bulova Nets
Class II Al Youakim All-Star - Steve Davis - New England Blazers
Class II Al Youakim All-Star - Kyle Jankowski - Jr Nets
Class III Al Youakim All-Star - Steven Yedlock - Bulova Nets
Class III Al Youakim All-Star - Edy Lopez

Mike Lione MVP Award - Christopher St. Remy - Nassau Kings

Freddy Jones Sportsmanship Award - Chad Sussman
Al Youakim Spirit Award - Sylvester "Frank" Simmons
Congratulations on another great Tournament and the Wheelchair Sports Federation would like to thank our wonderful volunteers, Re Marks, Dan Levine, Al Youakim and Chris Youakim.  We'll see you next November 2016 for the 22nd Annual.
15th Annual Jana Hunsaker Memorial Wheelchair Tennis Tournament (NY) Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   


Over 96 wheelchair tennis players participated in the 15th Annual Jana Hunsaker Memorial Wheelchair Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park from Thursday June 4th to Sunday June 7th, 2015.  The big winner was Men's Open Singles Winner Yusuke Nishimura and Women's Open Winner Shelby Baron The list of all the winners is as follows:


Men's Open Winner: Yusuke Nishimura

Men's Open Finalist: Phillipe Bedard

Men's Open Second Draw Winner: Chris Herman

Men's Open Doubles Winners: Rafael Medieros/Carlos Santos

Men's Open Doubles Finalists: Joel Dembe/Phillipe Bedard


Men's A Winner: Jongchul Sah

Men's A Finalist: Patrick Donaghey

Men's A Doubles Winners: Patrick Donaghey/Cristobal Rivera

Men's A Doubles Finalists: Danny Heumann/David Mendoza


Men's B Winner: Owen Gill

Men's B Finalist: Ricardo Corral

Men's B Doubles Winners: Chris Lamps/Nathan Melnyk

Mens' B Doubles Finalists: Thomas Dodd/Owen Gill


Men's C Winner: Charles Smith

Men's C Finalist: Steven Riley

Men's C Doubles winners: Joe Mendez/Henry Hasson

Men's C Doubles finalists: Charles Smith/Steven Riley


Women's Open Winner: Shelby Baron

Women's Open Finalist: Yuka Chokyu

Women's Open Doubles Winners: Yuka Chokyu/Marianne Page

Women's Open Doubles Finalists: Rosalba Vasquez Ramos/Claudia Toboada


Quad Open Winner: Gary Luker

Quad Open Finalist: Julio Rueda

Quad Open Doubles Winners: Pablo Araya/Julio Rueda

Quad Open Doubles Finalists: Kevin Whalen/David Jordan

George McFadden Spirit Award - 

Al Youakim Sportsmanship Award - Kevin Whalen 


With over $12,000 in prize money awarded to the winners, all participants competed at the highest level and enjoyed playing at one of the best Tennis Facilities in the World.  For more information about Wheelchair Tennis, please visit -   http://www.usta.com/Play-Tennis/Wheelchair-Tennis/Wheelchair/?intloc=headernavsub


Last Updated on Saturday, 05 March 2016 05:47
New York Sled Rangers Skate at Madison Square Garden Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Members of the Wheelchair Sports Federation's New York Sled Rangers skated between periods at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, as the Blueshirts faced off against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers honored the team's disabled veterans during this demonstration, in celebration of Veterans' Day. 

The team played a quick scrimmage, with half on the Rangers Blue team, and the other half on the Rangers Camo team. The two teams faced off with end-to-end action, with longtime teammate (and Paralympian) Tony Fitzgerald leading the charge. Bryan Genovese wowed the crowd, hitting the crossbar with his shot with a resounding 'ding', while thousands cheered. 

Also highlighted were the team's veterans. The New York Sled Rangers Hockey Team is proud to have military veterans play and compete on the team. The veterans competing in the night's game were: 
- Sgt. Bryan Dilberian, U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division. During his 4 years of service, he was wounded by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Before his honorable discharge, he was the first ever triple amputee to return to active military service. 

- Sgt. Christopher Bustamante, U.S. Army 2nd Calvary Regiment. During his 5 years of service, he was injured while deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. 

- Private First Class Len Lacina, U.S. Army M1 Armor Crewman. During his 2 years of service, he was partially paralyzed due to an averse reaction to medical treatment.
Want to find out more about the New York Sled Rangers Hockey Team, to donate, or try sled hockey for yourself? Call 631-485-SLED (7533) or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  for more information.
Check out and Like the team on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/NYRSledHockey 
Also check out the NY Rangers blog at http://rangers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=42759 
Be sure to follow the team on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/NYRSledHockey
All photos courtesy of MSG Photo Services 
Last Updated on Friday, 13 November 2015 23:06
15th Annual Major League Wheelchair Softball Tournament Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   


The 15th Annual Major League Wheelchair Softball Tournament took place at the home of MLB Rolling Red Sox, VA Healthcare Center, Brockton MA on September 26th and 27th, 2015.  3 Wheelchair Softball Teams sponsored by Major League Baseball franchises competed.  The New England Rolling Red Sox, New York Mets and New York Yankees fought for the coveted "Kelly Cup", named after Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association and United Spinal Association’s' former Executive Director, Jerry Kelly.


After playing 8 games over two days, the New England Rolling Red Sox beat the New York Yankees to win the 15th Annual Major League Wheelchair Softball Tournament.


On behalf of the players, coaches and Wheelchair Sports Federation, we'd like to thank the Brockton VA, NY Mets, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, MLB, and NY City Parks & Recreation for their continued support.  Without their help, we could not have a premiere Wheelchair Softball Tournament in the Northeast and one of the better events for Adaptive Sports in the United States. 

2015 Final Results:

1st Place – New England Rolling Red Sox

2nd Place – New York Yankees

3rd Place - New York Mets

2015 All-Tournament Team Awards

Pitcher - George Norton - New England Rolling Red Sox

Catcher – Mike Guildbault - New England Rolling Red Sox

1st Base – Juan Silva - New England Rolling Red Sox

2nd Base – Rodolfo Guevara – NY Yankees

3rd Base – Johnny Tejada - NY Mets

Shortstop – Damon Isles – New England Rolling Red Sox

Left Field – Andrew Bateson - New England Rolling Red Sox

Centerfield – Joe LeMar - New England Rolling Red Sox

Short Field - Bobby Krantz - NY Yankees

Right Field – Jongchul Sah - NY Mets

Best Quad - Radar –NY Yankees

Sportsmanship – Edy Lopez – NY Yankees

Best Rookie – Fas Ali – NY Yankees

Most Valuable Player – Ron Gendron


Al Youakim Volunteer & Spirit Award – Richard Leeman


Thank you to all our sponsors and volunteers.


We look forward to seeing everyone next year at the 16th Annual.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 October 2015 23:50
Adaptive Wheelchair Tennis Programs Helping Teenage Star Nieh Shine Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

October 15, 2015 03:00 PM

By Ashley Marshall, USTA Foundation.com

New York teenager Joanna Nieh is one of the best multi-sport athletes in America. Now, she’s quickly becoming one of the top young wheelchair tennis players in the world.

Joanna was born with spina bifida and has had her disability all her life, but she fails to let that define her as an athlete or as a person. Because of her mobility impairment, the 13-year-old usually gets around with leg braces and crutches, but for sports like tennis, she uses a wheelchair.

The eldest of four children, Joanna first picked up a racquet at an adaptive tennis program run by the Riverside Clay Tennis Association, a nonprofit volunteer organization in New York City. She participates in wheelchair tennis lessons and programs at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and she recently joined a summer and fall program at the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program (HJTEP). She also plans to play in a tennis program at the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis and Learning this fall. Both the HJTEP and Cary Leeds Center for Tennis and Learning are National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters supported by the USTA Foundation.

“It’s fun,” said Joanna, who won her first Wheelchair A division title in the women’s doubles in Hilton Head, S.C., in early October. “I like playing with other wheelchair players and with my family. When I was going to play in my first tournament, I did not really want to go. But it turned out to be lots of fun. Now, I really enjoy playing in tournaments because I get to play against other players who are of similar level and have some good, competitive matches. The people are also nice and fun to play with.”

Joanna is currently ranked 30th in the world among wheelchair tennis girls, and she’s the youngest nationally ranked female in the country. But while tennis may be one of her sporting passions, it’s certainly not the only one. She’s the fastest 14-and-under girls’ wheelchair track athlete in America and is the current national 14-and-under gold medalist in a number of disciplines, including the 100- 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,500 meters as well as the javelin, shot put and discus. She’s also a member of the NY Sled Rangers sled hockey team and, as one of the top juniors in the state, went to the U.S. women’s sled hockey tryouts earlier this year.

“Certainly playing wheelchair sports and tennis in particular has been great in giving Joanna all the benefits of playing sports,” said Joanna’s father, Jason, “including building self-confidence, living a more healthy lifestyle and having some really great experiences that she would not have had the chance to have otherwise, including being able to travel to play tennis.  The Wheelchair Sports Federation has been particularly instrumental in making all this possible.”

Joanna spent two weeks taking part in the HJTEP’s summer programing at Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx this summer, where she was one of 35 youngsters ages 9 to 17, participating in a tournament-driven camp. She also returned with her brother, Caleb, for the fall and winter clinics.

“She is our first [wheelchair] student in the history of the program,” HJTEP operations manager Mikella Matthias said. “She is very self-reliant and the coaches really loved her and said she had a great energy and was passionate about playing tennis.”

Jason Nieh reached out to the HJTEP earlier this year to sign Caleb up for the summer program and he asked whether Joanna could participate in classes. Matthias and her staff reached out to a USTA tennis service representative, who worked with the coaches to get them certified to coach wheelchair athletes.

“Wheelchair tennis is by design perhaps the most integrative of adaptive sports,” Nieh said. “But standup tennis programs are at times uncomfortable with including wheelchair players. It would be great if tennis programs could integrate kids of all backgrounds by ability, not looking at disability. They are all just kids enjoying a great sport.

“Both of our kids who play tennis have had a great experience participating in NJTL programs. The families, coaches and kids have been great.”

Matthias said offering professional wheelchair tennis coaching opens up a new avenue to players and allows even more youngsters to play the game they love.

“We embraced Joanna with open arms,” she said. “[The other youngsters] embraced her and said she was courageous and so independent. Diversity and inclusion is a major part of our program in Harlem. We look forward to seeing Joanna develop.”

The eighth grader is now currently enrolled in a 10-week tournament development stage program with HJTEP, playing three days a week at the indoor facility on 143rd Street in New York City alongside 19 other able-bodied players between 11 and 14 years old. She also continues to practice at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (NTC) in Queens, where she is one of two junior wheelchair tennis players – and one of 20 wheelchair players overall – who train weekly with USTA coaching professional Aki Takayama.

Takayama, a USPTA/USPTR Wheelchair certified coach and former ITF wheelchair tennis tournament director, has worked with Joanna for more than three years and said she has a chance to play in the Paralympics one day, if she so chooses.

“She is a typical 13-year-old girl,” said Takayama, who has 21 years of coaching experience under her belt. “She’s giggly and shy and just out there for the pure enjoyment of being out there. She has a bright nature about her and she doesn’t look at her disability in a negative way at all.

“I don’t think she sees herself as any different from any other 13-year-old girl. She just happens to be in a chair and she doesn’t see that as a disadvantage.”

Of course, the NTC is best-known for hosting the US Open, and Joanna was a small part of it this summer. She helped conduct the wheelchair tennis draw ceremony and she said enjoyed meeting the athletes.

“I got to speak with some of them,” Joanna said. “It was inspiring to watch them play and see what they can do.”

Which is exactly how most people feel about watching teenage wunderkind Joanna Nieh.

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