Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Regional Qualifiers celebrate a successful season

25 April 2018

It was an incredible winter of competition on sportsmanship as Special Olympics BC athletes across the province wrapped up another successful Regional Qualifier season. 

Lois McNary, Vice President, Sport for SOBC, said she was excited to hear about the level of competition throughout the eight Regions, as well as the tremendous efforts by all the Locals, volunteers, and staff.

“It’s no easy task putting on such a wide range of competitions for athletes is such a short period of time,” McNary said. “But we have some amazing people in our communities who go above and beyond to make sure the athletes get a chance to compete at their best. Thank you to everyone who came together during Regional Qualifiers.”

While the competitions have been completed, the selection process for who will go on to the 2019 SOBC Winter Games in Greater Vernon is still underway. SOBC provincial staff are going through the results and team members heading to the Games February of 2019 will be announced in late May or early June.

This year’s Regional Qualifiers had a new twist, as 5-pin bowling will make its debut as a winter sport at the Games in Greater Vernon.  

Other highlights included Prince George hosting its first-ever snowshoeing Regional Qualifier in late February. Charlene Flood, Community Development Coordinator for Regions 7 and 8 said the event was a great success thanks in large part to the wide range of volunteer groups who came on board. The event was hosted by the Otway Nordic Ski Center, who helped set up the course and gave coaches, athletes, and families use of their facilities. Flood said SOBC – Prince George snowshoeing head coach Wilma Van Hage was also instrumental in helping put together the event.

“We had a lot of volunteers come out and help, including a leadership class from a local secondary school,” Flood noted.  

Flood also noted that it was the first time snowshoe athletes from Smithers and Williams Lake competed at the regional level. Burns Lake and Quesnel also were represented at the event.

Another highlight from this year’s Regional Qualifiers was the Alpine Skiing event at Kimberley Mountain Resort. Joanne Thom, SOBC Local Coordinator for Kimberley/Cranbrook, said the all-region event featured beautiful weather with plenty of snow, making for ideal race conditions.

In all, 57 skiers took part in the two-day event. Again, it was the people behind the scenes that made the event a success, said Thom.

“All the ski coaches did such an amazing job,” Thom said. “Their help made it run seamlessly. We also had the local Kimberly race team volunteer with set-up and timing, which is such a big help.”

She also had high praise for all the volunteers on race day, as well as the Kimberley Mountain Resort and their staff for helping host.

Once the selection process is complete, athletes heading to the SOBC Games in Greater Vernon will be busy training for the chance to win gold.

McNary said she’s proud of all the athletes who competed over the course of winter and everyone should feel proud of their accomplishments, regardless of where they finished.

“It really does come down to our motto. Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt. That’s what we see at Regional Qualifiers. It’s what we see 365 days a year.”

A SOBC cross country skier takes part in the Regional Qualifier in Kelowna on February 10.

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