FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Turnstone announced Wednesday they'll be hosting the International Blind Sports Federation Paralympic Qualifier in Fort Wayne next summer.
Christella Garcia, an athlete, has been blind since birth. But, she said that hasn't stopped her from staying active.
"I was always running, climbing trees, getting into some kind of trouble," she said.
Now, she's a bronze paralympic athlete in judo, a Japanese martial art.
"I get to feel free like I can accomplish anything," she said.
With her dog by her side, the Sacramento, California native took a break from her sport to come to Fort Wayne for Turnstone's big announcement. Athletes, like Garcia, will soon be able to compete right here in Fort Wayne.
"To be able to compete on an international mat that's in your home country is truly an honor, and I am so excited to be able to be a part of it," Garcia said.
Mike Mushett, Turnstone CEO, said the event will give goalball teams and judoka the chance to qualify for Tokyo 2020.
"We expect between 30 and 40 countries, so it'll be exciting. Like I said, it's our first international competition and all of the top countries in the world of disabled sports will be here," he said.
Sara Luna is from Chicago, and is partially blind. She said right now she's only a paralympic hopeful, but she hopes this competition will help her reach her goals.
"Before Judo, I was very shy and quiet and Judo really just brought me out of my shell because for the first time I was in a sport where I could participate to the same extent as my peers who could see," she said.
And, it will show people Luna's disability can't stop her, or any of the other competitors.
The competition runs June 30, 2019 to July 10, 2019. Registration information will be out in September.
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