Categorized | Multi-sport, Sports

Accessible Hawaii honors disabled athletes

Australian Bill Chaffey with Accessible Hawaii staff Enock Friere and Jean Hartley. (Photo courtesy of Accessible Hawaii)

Australian Bill Chaffey with Accessible Hawaii staff Enock Friere and Jean Hartley. (Photo courtesy of Accessible Hawaii)


Before the Ironman race even began, a group of exceptional athletes was honored at a reception of gourmet pupus and Polynesian music on the lawn of historic Mokuaikaua Church.

On Oct. 7, the nonprofit organization Accessible Hawaii paid tribute to the men and women who cross the finish line powered by handcycles or specially designed racing orthotics.

At the reception, Bill Chaffey and his family were welcomed by Mayor Billy Kenoi, who said he greatly admires all the athletes who have the courage and dedication to tackle Ironman.

“It was a night we will always remember,” Chaffey said. “My family enjoyed the traditional welcome to the island and Mayor Kenoi’s passion for sport and family. Knowing that I can inspire others through my story gives me strength to push through obstacles.”

The Ironman World Championship triathlon course presented a formidable challenge to the 14 physically challenged athletes this year, who hailed from Austria, the United States, Australia, Germany and Mexico.

Paraplegics compete using handcycles for the 112-mile bicycle portion, then transfer to custom designed low-slung race chairs for the final 26.2-mile run segment.

Double amputee Scott Rigsby was on hand at the finish line Oct. 12 to congratulate the amputee competitors braving the Kohala winds on carbon blades or orthotics.

Most came in ahead of the 17-hour cut-off time, with exceptional times recorded by Andre Kajlich, Jason Fowler, Bill Chaffey, Thomas Fruhwirth and Scot Hollonbeck.

Accessible Hawaii is a nonprofit organization that aims to develop West Hawaii as a premier vacation destination for those seeking adaptive sports, accessible transportation and lodging. Its next projects include advocating for accessible public transportation and the availability of all-terrain wheelchairs to safely overcome gravel, lava and sand barriers.

— Find out more:

2013 Ironman Men’s Hand Cycle Results

Thomas Fruhwirth 9:02:55
Bill Chaffey 9:30:24
Andre Kajlich 10:32:17
Jason Fowler 10:45:24
Scot Hollonbeck 12:37:54

2013 Ironman Women’s Hand Cycle Results

Minda Dentler 14:39:14
Susan Katz DNF

2013 Ironman Men’s Physically Challenged Results

Eric McElvenny 11:54:29
Memet can Toygar 12:21:02
James Cuizon 14:09:43
Ruben Grande DNF
Jeff Schmidt DNF

2013 Ironman Women’s Physically Challenged Results

Barbara Ann Bernard DNF

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