The upcoming B.C. Special Olympics Summer Games will be the highest attended B.C. games, with eight athletes from the Fort St. John gearing up for the event July 6 to 9 in Kamloops.
Wyatt Turney and Nicholas Mitchell will represent the North Peace in bowling. Miranda Laboucane, Tina Tompkins and Russell Wheat are headed down for aquatics, and all three are expected to medal or place, according to Program Co-ordinator Crystal Laboucane. Sheryl Jakubowski is expected to place second or third in the 10km race, as well are Mykaela Stewart and Britni Renaud in rhythmic gymnastics.
“They’ve all earned their spot to be there. They all had a win at a regional qualifier to get where they’re going,” said Kathy Turney, local co-ordinator for the Fort St. John chapter of Special Olympics B.C.
Some of the athletes returned this week from a track meet in Kelowna, which saw them win 14 medals in 16 events.
According to Laboucane, preparation for the games has been very good, despite the barriers to getting them out to train and practice that exist as a result of them living in group homes.
“We’ve solved these issues, and they are game for it. We pushed them and they’re getting it done. Sheryl (Jakubowski) is our best trainer, at the track all the time, several days a week,” said Laboucane.
Laboucane said the athletes are very excited about going to the games.
“As soon as they see someone new that’s all that they talk about, it’s foremost on their minds and it’s nice to see. There’s an army of volounteers needed to make this happen so it’s really nice to be appreciated.”
The athletes will leave Fort St. John around 12:30 a.m. July 6, and are picking up athletes from Dawson Creek, Prince George, Quesnel and other locations on the trip to Kamloops.