2024 Sunshine State Games Events

Olympic Gold Medalists Competes in Sunshine State Games Canoe/Kayak Championships

CLICK HERE for results from the 2023 SSG Pickleball Results

Amidst the collection of boats, jet skis, fishers, walkers, sightseers and beach goers at the Port Charlotte Beach Park Saturday morning was a 2020 Olympic Games Gold Medalist.

Fernando Dayan Jorge Enriquez, who won the gold medal in the 1000m Doubles Canoe Race in Tokyo, with partner Serguey Torres Madrigal, added a couple of Sunshine State Games medals to his collection.

Jorge Enriquez (pictured middle in photo) posted the overall fastest time of the 200 meter sprint race to win the gold medal in the Olympic C-1 Open Event, with a time of 1:42.68. He also won a gold medal in the C-2 event, paddling with Orestes Gutierrez.

He was among six athletes currently in training at Ultimate Performance, in Cape Coral. A total of 12 athletes are in training, under the tutelage of Alain Nogueras and Amniel “Pepe” Naranjo, preparing for the American Canoe Association Canoe Sprint National Championships, at Nathan Benderson Park, in Sarasota, in August.

“We’ve been coming to the Sunshine State Games off and on since 2000,” said Naranjo, who was a silver medalist at the 2022 World Masters Canoe Championships, in Portugal. “We have an Olympian and some Olympic hopefuls here today.”

Jorge Enriquez’ younger brother, 14-year old Daniel Luis Jorge Enriquez, won the Olympic C-1 Junior event with a time of 2:13.78. Naranjo claimed a gold medal in the Olympic C-1 Senior event with a time of 2:03.90.

At the 2020 Olympic Games, Jorge Enriquez and Torres Madrigal, competing for Cuba, paddled the 1000 meters in 3:24.995, for a new Olympic-best time, defeating a team from the People’s Republic of China, in a thrilling come-from behind victory. Jorge Enriquez also competed in the 2016 Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, at 17-years old.

In the final match of the day at the PicklePlex of Punta Gorda, Ron Kurtz and Greg Potempa, both of Port Charlotte, won the gold medal in the 11-team Men’s Doubles 55-59 age group. The duo was undefeated in four matches and scored an 11-6, 11-7 win over Jeff Berg and John Reichel, both of Fort Myers, in the final match.

After scoring the first win, 11-6, Kurtz and Potempa jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the second game. After scoring a point off the serve, Berg proclaimed, “a run starts with one.” He and Reichel then narrowed the lead to 7-6 before the opposition called a time out.

“We had to change the momentum after four points,” said Ron Kurtz. “We missed some easy shots and were losing focus. We just said to one another, let’s get back and keep the ball in play.”

After Berg and Reichel scored one more point to tie the game at 7, Kurtz and Potempa scored the next four points for the win.

The championship match was Reichel’s 12th match in the last two days. He was undefeated in five matches to win the Men’s Singles 55-59 age group gold medal on Friday and played seven matches Saturday to earn the silver medal. He returns to the courts on Sunday, playing mixed doubles with his wife, Jennifer, in the 55-59 age group.

Sunshine State Games Pickleball and Canoe/Kayak continues on Sunday with Mixed Doubles Pickleball at the PicklePlex of Punta Gorda and 6- and 12-mile Marathon Races at the Port Charlotte Beach Park. Swimming also continues at the Dwight H. Hunter Northeast Pool, in Gainesville.

Sunshine State Games Schedule of Events – Sunday, June 4
8:30 a.m. – Swimming, Dwight H. Hunter Northeast Pool, Gainesville
9:00 a.m. – Pickleball, Mixed Doubles, PicklePlex of Punta Gorda
9:30 a.m. – Canoe/Kayak Marathon Races, Port Charlotte Beach Park (Onsite registration available, beginning at 8:30 a.m.)

Registration for the upcoming June events continues for competitions in Alachua County, Polk County, Orange County and Broward County. Visit the individual sports pages at www.sunshinestategames.com for competition and registration information.

The remaining 2023 Sunshine State Games schedule is below.

June 9-11, 2023
Artistic Swimming, H. Spurgeon Cherry Westside Pool, Gainesville, (Registration deadline extended to June 5)

June 10- 11, 2023
Archery, Gator Bowmen Archery Range, Gainesville, (Registration Open, deadline June 5)

June 10-11, 2023
Fencing, Legacy Park Multipurpose Center, Alachua (Registration deadline extended to Sunday, June 4)

June 10-11, 2023
Ultimate, Jonesville Soccer Park, Gainesville (Registration Closed)

June 16-18, 2023
Wakeboard, Elite Cable Park, Auburndale (Registration Open, deadline June 13)

June 17-18, 2023
Taekwondo, Auburndale Community Center, Auburndale (Registration Open, various price range deadlines through June 16)
Table Tennis, Simpson Park Community Center, Lakeland (Registration Open, deadline June 11)

June 23-25, 2023
Sunshine State Games Water Polo Championship, Rosen Aquatic Center, Orlando (Registration is open. Limit 8 Teams per Division. Registration for the Boys 18 and under division has reached capacity and is no longer taking registrations. Teams cannot register more than ONE TEAM PER DIVISION. Additional entries in Divisions may occur dependent on overall tournament registrations.)

June 24, 2023
Powerlifting, Lift District Fitness Center, Margate (Registration Open, deadline is June 9)

July 1, 2023
Congress Middle School, Boynton Beach, Winter Haven (Registration Open, deadline is June 23)

The Sunshine State Games is an annual Olympic-style Sports Festival for amateur athletes of all ages. Now in its 44th year, dating back to 1980, the Sunshine State Games is the longest continuously-running State Games in the U.S. The 2023 Sunshine State Game is held in conjunction with the Gainesville Sports Commission, Central Florida’s Polk County Sports Marketing, Visit Lauderdale, Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) and Earl Enterprises.