Ankeny man paralyzed in 2015 shooting heads to Paralympic Games in Tokyo

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 7:24 AM CDT
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ANKENY, Iowa (KCCI) - An Ankeny man, who is paralyzed, is heading to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

A shooting in 2015 left Justin Phongsavanh paralyzed from the waist down. Since then, he’s accomplished a lot.

He won a gold medal at the PanAmerican Games, and placed fourth at the world championships.

He also recently broke a world record in seated javelin throwing.

Phongsavanh moved to San Diego in 2019 to train hard but recalls his love for Paralympic Track and Field.

This started in his home state with Adaptive Sports Iowa. The group advocates for sports and recreation opportunities for Iowans with physical disabilities.

“We train just as hard as the Olympians,” Phongsavanh said. “We train in the same facilities. We were on the same stage.”

Phongsavanh will travel to Tokyo without his loved ones by his side due to pandemic restrictions.

“Don’t give up,” he said. “Life does not end because a situation has changed.”

The Paralympics start August 24.

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