The local athletes and coaches heading off to the nationals for Special Olympics: Nathan Lumoa, Hazen Meade, George Maclagan, Ann Jorgensen, Callum Maclagan, Sandy Ott, Paul Aubuchon, Gabe Young and Ashley Adie. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River send five to Nova Scotia for Special Olympics nationals

Three coaches also going from community to accompany the Team BC athletes

Campbell River will be sending a contingent across the country to compete in the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games.

The games will feature athletes from across Canada between July 31 and Aug. 4, competing in athletics, basketball, bocce, golf, powerlifting, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, softball, and swimming.

“We do have a group of coaches and athletes who are going to our national games,” local Special Olympics coordinator Maureen Hunter said.

The local group will fly out on July 29.

Athletes Ashley Adie, Hazen Meade, Nathan Luoma, Callum Maclagan, Paul Aubuchon and coaches Sandy Ott, Ann Jorgensen and George Maclagan will be part of the 244-member contingent that Team BC is sending to Antigonish, N.S. for the event.

Adie and Meade are competing in track, Luoma is playing basketball, Maclagan is powerlifting and Aubuchon is swimming.

In May, another local athlete took part in the nationals for 10-pin bowling in Prince Edward Island.

Gabe Young says his favourite part of the event, which brought together about 320 athletes and 40 coaches, was the friends he made, especially as he did not know what to expect from attending a large national competition for the first time. He also did well in the event, finishing with a silver medal.

“Before you go, you’re nervous. You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Young said.

Team BC’s 5- and 10-pin bowlers competed May 15 to 19, with the bowlers earning 31 medals and achieving many personal bests.

In Antigonish, Team BC will be made up of 174 athletes with intellectual disabilities, 54 coaches and 16 mission staff members, representing 38 communities across British Columbia.

Team BC members qualified for the provincial squad 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,” Leslie Thornley, Team BC 2018 Chef de Mission, said in a news release.

“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 four-year cycles for both summer and winter sports.

Athletes compete in regional events, followed by provincial games to advance to national games, and Special Olympics Canada Games are the qualifiers for Special Olympics World Games.

In Antigonish, athletes are vying to represent Canada at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.

Fast facts about Special Olympic BC-Campbell RiverThe local chapter is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organization offering year-round, quality fitness programs and competitive opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities in Campbell River for 35 years.

Currently, it offers 16 sports to more than 130 athletes.

Athletes range from seven to 76 years old.

All money raised by the local chapter goes directly to weekly program costs, travel and equipment for the Campbell River athletes. The chapter is responsible for expenses in Campbell River and competition costs in the province.

The Special Olympics provincial office raises money for the provincial team expenses at the national games, while the national office raises money for national team expenses at the World Games.

Community support has helped make Special Olympics BC-Campbell River one of the most successful locals in Canada.

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