TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 2019 Sunshine State Games schedule is in full gear as the nation’s longest continually run state games kick off the summer months with five events, including rowing, kayaking, canoeing, weightlifting, and wrestling, on Saturday, June 1.
Sarasota will host three sports, Olympic Weighting, Rowing, and Canoe/Kayak Sprints, while the City of Parrish is home to the Canoe/Kayak Marathon course at Fort Hamer Park. Traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast, spectators will see some of the Sunshine State’s best wrestlers dual it out in West Palm Beach.
This weekend’s excitement is the second weekend of multi-sport 2019 Sunshine State Games competitions going on through the months of May and June. Over the last two weeks, more than 2,000 of Florida’s finest amateur athletes competed in Basketball in Alachua County, Figure Skating and Taekwondo in Pasco County, and Lacrosse in Broward County.
200+ athletes will step into boats and up to the weight platform in Sarasota and Manatee Counties this weekend.
Nathan Benderson Park hosts 27 Florida rowing clubs in boats containing one a single rower to as many as eight. A total of 148 athletes will compete in 62 events beginning at 8:30 a.m. Teams from as far north as Jacksonville and Tallahassee will be in the water along with teams as far south as Miami.
On the other end of the park, Sunshine State Games paddling events will be running sprints with distances of 200, 500 and 1,000 meters.
North of NBP at Fort Hamer Park, the canoe/kayak marathon events will hit the water starting at 9:30 a.m. in the short course, six miles, and long course, 12 miles, distances.
Just over 100 competitors will be testing feats of strength on Saturday at the SSG Olympic Weightlifting championships being held at Robarts Arena in Sarasota. Competing in two disciplines, Snatch and Clean & Jerk, each lifter’s total combined score will lead them to the potential title of the best overall male and female lifter.
The competition, which is governed according to the rules and procedures of USA Weightlifting, will start at 9:00 a.m. and run into the evening. Weigh-ins for competition begin at 7:00 a.m.
The annual highlight of the Sunshine State Games Olympic Weightlifting event is the presentation of The Robert Murphy Spirit Award, named after the late SSG weightlifter. It is awarded to an athlete who best personifies the charisma, fight and never say die attitude of Murphy. A new award, honoring the late Chris Pennington, will also be giving out for the first time in 2019 to the coach that exemplifies the highest level of professionalism, coaching motivation, and spirit of sport. Pennington, who passed away in 2018, coached Team Florida’s Weightlifting competitors since 1999.
After a two-year break in action, SSG Wrestling makes its returns to the mats on Saturday in West Palm Beach Florida. Partnering with the Police Athletic League (PAL) of West Palm Beach, 173 wrestlers will battle it out on the center circle for championship glory.
“The excitement of having wrestling back in the Sunshine State Games after a brief absence is unparalleled,” said wrestling state director Jonathan “J.T.” Taylor. “PAL of West Palm Beach is excited to be in partnership with the Florida Sports Foundation for this event that serves our community and advocates for an active lifestyle. It’s only fitting to have the oldest Olympic sport involved with the production of the Sunshine State Games.”
Weigh-ins for competition are Friday, May 31 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and prior to duals on Saturday from 7:00-8:00 a.m. Prior to matches starting at 9:00 a.m., there will be an opening ceremony, including a parade of athletes, presentation of colors, and National Anthem, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Keiser University – Flagship Campus Gymnasium. Results from the tournament can be accessed by visiting www.trackwrestling.com.
The Ultimate championships which were originally slated for this weekend will now be contested as part of the 2019 SSG International Beach Games being held at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort, on Clearwater Beach, September 27-29.
Check back in with SunshineStateGames.com for a post-event recap and results.
About the Sunshine State Games
The 40th Sunshine State Games are presented annually by the Florida Sports Foundation (FSF), the state’s lead sports promotion and development organization, and a division of Enterprise Florida, Inc. The Foundation works in conjunction with a variety of local sports industry partners to present the different competitions. The Sunshine State Games, an annual amateur sports tradition in Florida, is part of the state’s $57.4 billion sports industry that accounts for 580,000 jobs statewide.