Bethpage's jbussani, inc. to Sponsor Wheelchair Championship Race
jbusanni, inc., located on Central Avenue in Bethpage, has signed on once again to be a major contributing sponsor of the 12th annual Nick Katsounis Memorial 10 Kilometer Wheelchair Championship Race, which will be held on the Bethpage State Parkway on Sunday, June 29. The race will start and finish at Ellsworth Allen Town Park in Farmingdale.

Daniel J. Bussani, production manager of jbussani, inc. (right) is all smiles as he announces his continuing support for the Race-to-Race Director Geri Walsh (center) and Assistant Race Director Joe Mendez.

jbussani, inc. is a major vehicle conversion expert, specializing in providing accessible vehicles for the disabled. Their motto is "Where Mobility Comes First," and organizers of the Wheelchair Championship Race are thrilled to welcome them on board once again.

The race is co-administered by the Town of Oyster Bay and its Department of Parks and Recreation and the Greater Long Island Running Club. GLIRC's Geraldine Walsh will serve as the director of the event once again this year.

The Wheelchair Championship Race has really come into its own over the past several years, spearheaded by the participation of virtually every major wheelchair competitor from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and as far away as Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, and the Union of South Africa. The 2002 race was won by Mexican Paralympic Champion Saul Mendoza, who edged out Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa in a dramatic finish that saw only 20 seconds separating the top eleven finishers. The women's division featured another dramatic finish, with Australian superstar Louise Sauvage crossing the finish line only 3/10 of a second in front of United States Champion Chritina Ripp of the University of Illinois. Eight Long Island athletes joined the world's best in the 2002 race, with veteran racer Peter Hawkins of Malverne scoring a very creditable 21st place overall to take top Long Island honors. Jeffrey Fisher of Ohio won the special "race within a race" for veterans of the United States Armed Forces. All in all, this was one of the best fields of wheelchair athletes ever assembled for any race anywhere.

With a major base to build on, the town and GLIRC expect the growth of the event to be nothing short of phenomenal in 2003 - as this race truly establishes itself as perhaps the most important assemblage of wheelchair athletes in the world. The race committee is pleased and proud to announce that this year's race will be the kickoff event of the new US Paralympics - America Series of wheelchair track and field and road racing events.

However, even more to the point, the race serves a major vehicle for promoting and funding wheelchair sports here in the New York Metropolitan area for those who are not world class athletes. The key is to help local young people overcome their disabilities through wheelchair athletics, and the Wheelchair Championship 10 Kilometer Race has become a major source of support for achieving this important result.

For more information, or to volunteer to help out on June 29, call the Greater Long Island Running Club at 349-7646.


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