There’s just a few more days remaining in the 2017 World Dwarf Games, taking place in Ontario, Canada.
The seventh such event is held, "exclusively for athletes with dwarfism,” according to the games’ website.
Like the summer Olympics, the WDG are held every four years. This year’s event will be the largest in participation, surpassing the 2013 total of nearly 400 athletes from 17 countries, according to the WDG.
ABC10 News’ John Bartell spoke with Hai Okenfuss, a 10-year-old, multi-sport athlete from Sacramento, about his road to the games.
“I am going to do pretty good because I watched some YouTube [videos] and [the athletes] don’t look that good,” Okenfuss told ABC10 leading up to the big games. Okenfuss won two silver medals for the United States so far— in badminton and basketball.
For Okenfuss, and others like him, the world games are an opportunity at a “chance to make history.”
And it would be quite the history.
The games started back in 1993, when 165 athletes from 10 different countries took to Chicago to compete. Since then, the WDG has gone far, hosting events in England, France and Northern Ireland.
The games are organized by age divisions and include nearly 20 athletic events ranging from basketball and soccer to powerlifting and archery.
The United States, which has had the most participants in WDG history, has been fairly dominant in taking home medals. America has 379 total medals in seven world games, England is second with 192, and Australia rounds out the top three with 76 medals.
“These games are so much more than athletic competition,” Arthur Dean, International Dwarf Athletic Federation president, said in a press release. “The change lives, not just in sports. Many dwarfs now pursue careers in sports related professions, teaching, training coaching and more.”
To live stream some of the events, visit worlddwarfgames2017.org