BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Kern Athletic Fencing Foundation is looking for individuals interested in starting parafencing in Bakersfield.
The Foundation is hoping to train athletes for the 2028 Paralympic games in Los Angeles, and even has the help of two paralympic athletes to make it happen.
“I made the world team in 1998. Mario is also on that team. We were in Sydney, and Athens. Mario missed Beijing but we both were in London," said paralympian Gerard Moreno.
Paralympians Gerard Moreno and Mario Rodriguez fenced as young adults. But, injuries forced them both to take a step back from the sport.
“I was injured in a home invasion robbery and the bullet hit my vertebrae and shattered into my spinal cord," Moreno said.
Moreno got back into the sport when he heard about parafencing in 1996.
Parafencing is also known as wheelchair fencing.
“In able-bodied fencing you have this long strip and you’re moving back and forth with your feet. We do our footwork with our bodies instead," Rodriguez said.
Foundation President Lucas Dobrzanski says the foundation wants to provide training and equipment to members for free and is welcoming anyone over 13 years old to join.
“People with disabilities, physical disabilities will be qualified depending on the severity of their disability. If their an amputee, that's one classification, if they are a paraplegic that's another or if they are a quadriplegic that's another." Dobrzanski said.
Moreno says it's an honor to introduce a parafencing program in Bakersfield.
“It's a tremendous opportunity and I’m glad that we are able to introduce the program and give the community a taste of what parafencing is.”
Anyone interested in supporting the foundation can visit https://kernaff.org/