A group of determined Prince George Special Olympians is about to reap the rewards for sticking to a plan.
A year ago they qualified for the B.C Special Olympics Summer Games in Kamloops. But to hold their place on the Zone 8 regional team, they had to train for their sport regularly. The 24 athletes who lived up to their training obligations will compete at the provincial Summer Games July 7-9 in Kamloops.
"All these athletes went to regional meets last year and they had to have done well to qualify, and in October they were given letters of congratulations and they had to sign a contract," said Wilma VanHage, Prince George Special Olympics public relations coordinator.
"To continue to stay on the training squad you have to train three times per week and stay with that throughout the year and a few of them didn't do the training and got cut."
Nine of the local athletes - Greg Cole, Wayne Cavanaille, Adrian Rosen, Carol West, Jennifer Germann, Yvonne Leruyet, Linda Renner, Michael Harris and Kelly Hein - have become 10-pin bowling team specialists on a squad coached by Tracy Cole.
In track and field, Marinka VanHage and Chase Caron will be joining the Fort St. John team, while Tegan Raines, Darcie Muzychka and Micheala Samsonoff have qualified in rhythmic gymnastics on a team coached by Dee Neukomm.
Powerlifter Diana Bramble has been gathering strength for the Summer Games, working out at XConditioning gym with coach Jay Cook.
Swimmers Sam Russell, Mathew Sallenback and Amanda Glazier have been brushing up on their stroke technique overseen by aquatics coach Dawn Taylor.
Golf coach Fern Russell has three athletes - Josh Pudney, Greg Eveneshen and Danny Lafreniere are ready to crush the ball at Kamloops Golf and Country Club.
Soccer players Audrey Nelson, Ruth Caldwell and Spencer Rourke complete the Prince George contingent and they will join forces with their teammates from Quesnel. The Kamloops soccer tournament will be played at McArthur Island Park.
The top athletes and winning teams will be asked to represent B.C. at the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games next year in Antigonish, N.S. The national games serve as a qualifier for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi, March 14-21, 2019.
Prince George Special Olympics has been working together with the Prince George Track and Field Club, which organized a track and field performance skills camp and track meet this past Sunday at Lac des Bois elementary school field.
A couple days earlier, the Prince George athletes got the B.C Special Olympics Summer Games shirts they will wear at the opening ceremony in Kamloops. The opening is scheduled for Friday, July 7 at Sandman Centre, home of the Kamloops Blazers hockey team.