USAT partners with Wal-Mart to support local youth

USA Triathlon (USAT) and nine area Wal-Mart stores have teamed up to provide 25 kids from Colorado Springs a prize package of sports equipment that will outfit them for the 2009 USA Triathlon Junior Olympic Festival in August in Colorado Springs.

The festival – scheduled for Memorial Park’s Prospect Lake on 8 August – will feature triathlon races for kids aged 7-15. Also part of the day’s events are national championships for Youth Elite (age 13-15) and Junior Elite (age 16-19) athletes.

The USAT/Wal-Mart programme is designed to help kids in need and encourage them to get involved in the healthy lifestyle of triathlon, said USAT National Events Director Jeff Dyrek. “We are excited to work with an organisation like Wal-Mart that has a history of giving back to the local community. Together, we hope to encourage kids to live a healthy lifestyle and capitalise on Colorado Springs’ reputation of being one of the most active cities in the country.”

The 25 kids will be selected for the programme over the next month. Details on the process are still to be announced. Each participant will each receive a bike, bike helmet, running shoes, swimming goggles, and sunglasses courtesy of Wal-Mart. A racing uniform is also being designed for the kids to wear in the race. Plans are underway to connect the kids with local triathlon coaches for training, to ensure they are adequately prepared for the August race.

The participating Wal-Mart stores are also encouraging their employees to get involved in the effort, either as volunteers or by forming team relay teams to compete against the other stores on race day. “The emphasis is on fighting obesity, family, and community involvement,” said Dyrek. “It’s not about competition, but participation.”

Dyrek hopes to expand this programme regionally and ultimately implement it on a national level.

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