It seems as if this summer, local athletes are spending a lot of their time away at a wide variety of provincial and national level competitions. One noteworthy group will represent B.C. as well as the Smithers area at a national level, multiple sport competition in Anitigonish, Nova Scotia this week.
Team BC members will be ready to give their all at the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games running July 31 to Aug. 4. The province is sending 174 athletes with intellectual disabilities, 54 coaches, and 16 mission staff members, representing 38 communities across British Columbia.
Running from July 31 to Aug. 4, the event will see Special Olympics athletes from across the country compete in athletics, basketball, boccie, golf, powerlifting, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, softball, and swimming.
At the competition, local swimmer Kaylee Richter will be swimming the 25 and 50 freestyle, 25 and 50 breaststroke, the 25 backstroke and the 100 individual medley. She will attend the competition with coach Gale Jones.
Richter is a relative newcomer to the sport but according to Jones, she has shown steady improvement and is looking forward to the competition.
These athletes qualified through their performances at the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games in Kamloops.
“Team BC athletes have been working very hard and we are excited to see them shine at the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games,” said Leslie Thornley, Team BC 2018 Chef de Mission.
“They have been training with their local programs, working with sport-specific experts, and focusing on nutrition so they can be at their best for National Games. We know they will do B.C. proud with their abilities and sportsmanship.”
Special Olympics competitions operate on a four-year cycle for both summer and winter sports. Athletes compete in regional events and then Provincial Games to advance to National Games, and Special Olympics Canada Games are the qualifiers for Special Olympics World Games.
In Antigonish, athletes will compete for the opportunity to represent Canada at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.
In 55 communities around the province, year-round training and competitive opportunities are provided in 18 different sports to more than 4,800 athletes of all ages and a wide range of abilities, thanks to the dedicated efforts of over 3,900 volunteers.
For more information, visit specialolympics.bc.ca or go on Facebook and Instagram @specialolympicsbc and Twitter @sobcsociety.