SSG Palm Beach County Festival features eight sports, 1,400 athletes this weekend, Badminton Championships to be held in Orlando

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SSG Palm Beach County Festival features eight sports, 1,400 athletes this weekend
~ Badminton Championships to be held in Orlando ~

TALLAHASSEE – It will be hard to find another venue in the State of Florida this weekend with more sports and athletes in action than the Palm Beach County Convention Center when seven sports of the Sunshine State Games Palm Beach County Festival take to the mats, platforms and strips.

While the seven sports are contested at the Convention Center, Okeeheelee Park will host BMX Cycling. The SSG Badminton Championships will be held at Clear One in Orlando with events Saturday and Sunday ranging from 17 and under divisions to age 70+.  The action begins at 9:00 a.m. on both days.

Beginning at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning, the Palm Beach County Convention Center will be filled with Florida’s Finest Amateur Athletes competing in Fencing, Judo, Karate, Powerlifting, Taekwondo, Weightlifting and Wrestling.  There is no admission charge to see these sports of the State of Florida’s only Olympic-Style Sports Festival.  There is a $5 parking charge, but no admission to the building.

Florida’s Sunshine State Games (SSG) debuted in 1980 in an effort to strengthen the state’s presence in the amateur sports world.  Now in its fourth decade, the Sunshine State Games have been a stepping stone for athletes with the desire to take their talents to a national or international level.  Four of the eight sports at the Palm Beach County Festival are sports of the Olympic Games (Fencing, Judo, Weightlifting and Wrestling).

While competing, the SSG athletes and spectators at the Palm Beach County Convention Center and Okeeheelee Park, will recognize 2015 Olympic Day with over 700+ nationwide events celebrating the birth of the modern Olympic Games and the spirit of the Olympic Movement throughout the day on Saturday, June 13.

“We are excited to take part in Olympic Day and inspire kids in Palm Beach County and statewide,” said Stephen Rodriguez, Sr. Vice President of the Florida Sports Foundation.  “The Sunshine State Games is proud to support the Olympic Movement and encourage children and adults to lead healthy, active lives.”

 

The events of Olympic Day are designed to engage youth and promote the ideals of the Olympic movement, feature athlete appearances, family friendly activities and interactive learning experiences. Around the world, more than 160 countries take part in the annual celebration. Olympic Day, created in 1948 to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games, focuses on the Olympic values and ideals such as fair play, perseverance, respect and sportsmanship.

 

The 2015 Palm Beach County Festival marks the third time the Sunshine State Games has paid a visit to Palm Beach County for an Olympic-Style Sports Festival.  The Games were previously held in Palm Beach County in 1991 and 2002.

 

For more information on the Sunshine State Games, please visit www.flasports.com or call toll-free 1-866-FL-GAMES (354-2637).

2015 SSG Palm Beach County Festival Previews

BMX Cycling

DATE: Saturday, June 13

LOCATION: Okeeheelee Park, 7715 Forest Hill Blvd. – West Palm Beach

REGISTRATION: On-site registration entry fee is $25 for most divisions, $55 for pro/elite division and $15 for striders. On-site registration will ONLY be accepted from 7:30-9:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 13.

COMPETITION BEGINS: 11:00 a.m.

 

STORYLINES: Cameron “Hollywood” Pineda is ranked among the top youth BMX Cyclists in the country by USA BMX. He started racing when he was 4 at Miami South BMX. In 2012 he placed 2nd overall in the Florida Cup series and took 1st place in the Florida State Championship series. He closed out the year at the 2012 East Coast Nationals in Greenville, South Carolina and took back to back wins over riders from all around the country.

 

Fencing

DATE: Saturday, June 13 & Sunday, June 14

LOCATION: Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

REGISTRATION: Online registration is closed. Late entries may be accepted at the discretion of the Event Director with a $20 late fee. NO registration will be taken the day of the event.

COMPETITION BEGINS: 8:30 a.m. both days.  All Foil events will be held Saturday with Epee and Sabre events on Sunday.

 

STORYLINES:  Among the athletes competing is Rafael Suarez, who has a long history of competitions and accolades including the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games competing in Individual and Team Foil.  He was a two-time Bronze Medalist in the Pan-American Games Individual and Team.

 

Dunedin triplets, Angela, Briana and Erika Dean, members of the Dunedin Fencing Club, will make their first Sunshine State Games appearance.  The 17-year old trio have been fencing since they were eight years old.  Besides their work with the Dunedin Fencing Club, the triplets are very active in the community with the Dunedin Youth Volunteers, a group of teens ages 14 – 18.  The volunteers are working toward earning scholarship hours  for Bright Futures and International Baccalaureate programs.  The volunteers work with the Youth Services Department to provide outstanding programming to the community.  Currently, Erika is serving as President, Briana is the Vice President and Angela is the Secretary.

 

Judo

DATE: Saturday, June 13

LOCATION – Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

REGISTRATION:  Online Registration is closed. On-site registration entry fee is $70 for the first division and $30 for each additional division. On-site registration will ONLY be accepted Friday, June 12 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

COMPETITION BEGINS:  9:00 a.m. with divisions ranging from 6 and under to 40 and older.

 

STORYLINES: The Judo Sport Director, Fred Hand, of Tallahassee is a former Judo Champion and was selected to be on the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team that boycotted the Moscow Olympic Games.  His son, Ato, grew up competing in the Sunshine State Games and was a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team in Sydney, Australia.

 

Competing in the 2015 Sunshine State Games is LaQuinta Allen, of Lauderdale Lakes.  Allen was a member of the 2010 Senior World Championship Team and Junior Pan American Championship team that won a silver medal.  Allen won a bronze medal at the 2010 USA Judo Senior National Tournament losing only to 2008 Olympian and current UFC Champion Rhonda Rousey. See video of the match on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v–h97DDQQk&feature=player_embedded

 

Karate

DATE: Saturday, June 13

LOCATION:  Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

REGISTRATION: Online registration is closed and No entries will be accepted on-site.

COMPETITION BEGINS: 10:00 a.m. with All Kata Divisions followed by all Kumite Divisions

STORYLINES: Gainesville’s Megan Neal, who has won SSG gold medals since 2005, might wander over to the Weightlifting event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center after her recent success as a dual sport athlete.  She was named the Gainesville Sun’s 2015 Weightlifter of the Year and placed 10th in her weight class at the 2015 FHSAA State Championships and went undefeated during the regular season. It was her third consecutive trip to state championships. Neal, who will compete in the USA National Karate Championships in Fort Lauderdale this summer, capped her weightlifting season by setting personal bests with a 145-pound bench press and 145-pound clean and jerk for a 290 total in the 119-pound class.

 

Powerlifting

DATES: Saturday, June 13 & Sunday, June 14

LOCATION: Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

REGISTRATION: Online registration is closed and No entries will be accepted on-site.

COMPETITION BEGINS: 9:00 a.m. on both days.  Saturday’s competition is all female lifters and all male lifters 53.00kgs to 83.00kgs.  Sunday’s competition is all male lifters 93.00kgs to 120.00+kgs.

STORYLINES: Dr. Bill Hennessey, an  Florida International University instructor  and  national champion powerlifter, is the coach of the FIU  Powerlifting  Team, that surprised state collegiate teams last year, winning the first-place trophy in the men’s competition and a second-place finish in the women’s competition at the Florida Collegiate Powerlifting Championship,  Sunday, November  16,  2014. The program is in its first year of existence. Hennessey, who had a combined lift of 332.5kg to win a gold medal at the 33rd Annual USAPL Florida State Open Powerlifting Championships in March, and his 15-year old daughter, Katarina, will compete at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

 

Nick Israel, of Wellington, has set state, national and world marks during his powerlifting career. He also won junior and collegiate national bench press championships, and was a member of the USA Powerlifting Team that competed in the IPF/NAPF North American Regional Bench Press Championships in Miami in 2011. He also competed at the 2011 USAPL Bench Press National Championships and won the junior national title (83kg class) and set a national meet record. He also came in 6th in the open division while being the youngest competitor.

 

Taekwondo

DATES: Saturday, June 13 & Sunday, June 14

LOCATION: Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

REGISTRATION: Online registration is closed. On-site registration entry fee is $60 for the first event and $10 for each additional event per participant and will be accepted on-site on Friday, June 12, 2015 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. only. No refunds. Only cash, checks and money orders will be accepted for payment. No registrations will be taken Saturday or Sunday on-site.

COMPETITION BEGINS: 10:00 a.m. on both days. Saturday’s competition is all poomsae (forms), breaking and weapons divisions for all belts and all ages and sparring for all color belts and 11 and under black belt. Sundays’ competition is black belt only 12 and under and up.

STORYLINES: The registration database shows the youth of the 2015 SSG Taekwondo.  Of the athletes registered as of June 10, 37.4% of the field is under the age of 10.

 

SSG Taekwondo is also a family affair for many with over 20 sets of parents and their children participating .  The 2013 SSG Female Athlete of the Year, Jesse Price, of Tampa, will compete with her son, Tyler Barat.  Jeremy Simmons, of Jacksonville, is registered with his three daughters and son.  Simmons, a 5th Dan Kukkiwon Black Belt, and instructor at the Korean Taekwondo of America Club (KTA), will guide his 12, 10, and 8 year old daughters and 6-year old son while competing himself.

Weightlifting
DATE: Saturday, June 13
LOCATION: Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

REGISTRATION: Online registration is closed. On-site registration entry fee is $40 and will only be accepted on Saturday, June 13 at the respective weighing for each flight, division and weight class.
COMPETITION BEGINS: 10:00 a.m. for Flight 1, all female competitors.  Flight 2 begins at 2:00 p.m. for all male competitions.  Age groups begin at Youth (13 and under) and advance through Master (35+).

STORYLINES:  Ryan Borges, of Bradenton, is taking a break from the U.S. Olympic Training site at Northern Michigan University to return to his roots at the Sunshine State Games.  He has been competing at the Sunshine State Games since 2007.  The 2014-15 year is his second at Northern Michigan and placed second at the Senior Nationals (Salt Lake City, Utah), Second  at the National University Championships (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Third Place at the World University Championships in  (Chiang Mai, Thailand).

Wrestling

DATES: Saturday, June 13 & Sunday, June 14
LOCATIONS:  Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

REGISTRATION: All competitors must be registered prior to 10pm on Thursday, June 11, 2015 (EST) at www.floridausawrestling.org
COMPETITION BEGINS: 10:00 a.m. with Folkstyle wrestling. Freestyle begins at 2pm with Greco following. A Women`s Junior Division Freestyle will be created using actual weight grouping. SFL Team Duals will be on Sunday.

STORYLINES: The St. Thomas Aquinas Wrestling team has registered for action and is coached by the 2001 SSG Male Athlete of the Year, Robert Wimberly, of Fort Lauderdale.  Wimberly’s history with the Sunshine State Games spans the lifetime of the Games.  He won gold medals in the 1981 and 1982 in the Senior Division (age 19 and over) and last won a gold medal at the 2002 Games, held in West Palm Beach.

Also Registered to compete is the Wellington Wrestling Club which won two state championships and finished with a club-record 12 place-winners at the recent 2015 FAWA State Championships in April.

www.flasports.com

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