Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Meet Athlete Nate McNeil

24 May 2017

Special Olympics BC – Ridge Meadows athlete Nate McNeil is passionate about elevating his performance on the track and living a healthy lifestyle.

McNeil’s favorite sport is athletics and he loves competing in long-distance running events. He says running can be hard work, but it makes him feel good and he is proud of his skills.

“I like to run and compete!” McNeil says.

McNeil is excited to compete in athletics at July’s 2017 SOBC Summer Games. It will be his first time travelling for a competition, and McNeil says he can’t wait to have a great time and meet new people in Kamloops.

McNeil qualified for Provincial Games through his stellar performance at last year’s Athletics Regional Qualifier in Langley. He says the event was a lot of fun and he got to meet many great runners.

“I was so proud of him and he did so well,” McNeil’s caregiver Deb Covington said. “He trained so hard and it was great to see him do so well.”

Covington said the Regional Qualifier had a great atmosphere and she was impressed by the athletes’ enthusiasm and sportsmanship. McNeil says it was great having his family there to support him.

In addition to athletics, McNeil has also participated in swimming, bocce, soccer, and basketball during his time with SOBC. He says maintaining a healthy diet is key success in competition and in life.

“It makes me perform better,” he says.

McNeil says one of his most memorable experiences with SOBC was taking part in the Maple Ridge leg of the Lower Mainland Law Enforcement Torch Run a few years ago. He says he enjoyed running with law enforcement members and it makes him feel good to know they are supporting SOBC and working hard to provide athletes like him with life-changing opportunities.

McNeil has a job doing landscaping through the Ridge Meadows Association for Community Living. He says the job is fun and it helps him stay in shape and earn money.

Covington says SOBC has helped McNeil gain confidence and make good life choices. Also, McNeil has learned about eating healthy, getting along with coaches and other athletes, and sticking to a demanding sports program.

“It has really helped him have goals, be able to accomplish them, and realize he’s a lot more capable than he thought he was,” Covington said. “It makes me so proud just to know that he’s a young adult who has a lot of opportunities ahead of him.”

McNeil says he is very grateful to his kind and supportive coach Kevin Gillmore. Covington says Gillmore goes above and beyond what a coach would be expected to do, and this includes working with athletes after training session and driving McNeil to practices and competitions.

Going forward, McNeil plans to continue living a healthy lifestyle and stay active in his community. He is also training hard for this summer’s Provincial Games with the goal of qualifying for the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games.

Nathan is such a dedicated and gifted athlete, I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work with him. Not only is he extremely hard working, he is also a wonderful mentor for my young son Kai.

Can't wait to see you perform in Kamloops!

Kevin Gillmore Wed, 2017-05-31 20:58

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