Three athletes from Red Deer and one from Innisfail are heading to Nova Scotia for the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games.
The delegation from Red Deer includes Chantal Payne in athletics, Toryn Holden for golf and Elliott Moskowy in swimming. Innisfail’s Hidde Geurts will compete in swimming events.
Alberta is sending 148 athletes and 54 coaches and mission staff to the games in Antigonish, N.S., which run from July 31 to Aug. 4. The athletes leave for Nova Scotia on Sunday. Five coaches from Red Deer are also going.
Jerry Tennant, Special Olympics Red Deer chairman, said the event is the culmination of two years of work.
“First they had to qualify to go to the provincial games, then from the provincial games they had to be selected based on their performance for the national games,” said Tennant.
“It’s about giving people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to compete and to better themselves physically. But there’s also social aspects and fitness aspects to it. For a lot of the athletes, it is their social life, their sporting life and their family life.”
Ten more athletes, five from Olds and five from Red Deer, have already competed in the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Bowling Championships in Prince Edward Island, held May 15 to 20.
Brenda Schewalje, Mike Ward, June Rolfson, Chris Maloney and Lindsey Day all represented Red Deer, and Alberta, in the five-pin bowling competition.
Maloney came in third in the individual event in his division.
Derek Dukes, Derek Hallet, Karen Bystrom and Joey Rempel are from Olds and competed in the five-pin competition, while Mark Mengersen, also from Olds, was in the 10-pin competition.
Mengersen finished first in his division in the all-event, second in the double event, second in the team event and first in the single in his division.
Rempel came in third in his division in the individual five-pin bowling event.
Tennant said from these games Team Canada will be chosen to compete in the 2019 Special Olympics World games in Dubai.
“There’s a possibility some of our athletes could get to go, we’ll just have to wait and see,” said Tennant.