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Fort McMurray brings house medals from Particular Olympics Arctic Winter Video games

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All 9 Fort McMurray athletes who competed on this yr’s Particular Olympics Alberta Winter Video games have introduced medals house.

The video games, which have been hosted in Strathcona County from Feb. 24 to 26, have been the primary time a number of the athletes had travelled for an athletics competitors. They have been additionally a spotlight for Particular Olympics Wooden Buffalo, which has returned after ending in 2011.

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“It made me understand why Particular Olympics is so particular. I simply joined to have enjoyable and I got here away with medals,” mentioned Kris Squires, who gained gold and silver in bowling classes. “It made me love this sport much more.”

The native athletes competed in ground hockey—which was a combined crew that included athletes from Grande Prairie and Drugs Hat—and bowling. Fort McMurray gained gold medals in 4 occasions, and silver and bronze medals in a single occasion every. They have been so happy with their victories that they wore their medals at a Wednesday night bowling apply at The Alley.

They joined more than 600 Alberta athletes competing in alpine and cross nation snowboarding, five-pin bowling, curling, determine skating, ground hockey, snowshoeing and pace skating.

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Scott Madigan, who gained bronze with ground hockey, was stunned seeing different athletes from throughout Alberta. Whereas he hoped for silver or gold, Madigan was happy with how the crew performed in opposition to powerful opponents.

“This was my first competitors and successful a medal,” mentioned Madigan.

Christal Ford-Grant, chair of Particular Olympics Wooden Buffalo, mentioned native sports activities for youth with bodily and mental disabilities is enhancing. The group already has inclusive hockey, baseball and basketball packages. However for adults, there are few athletic choices.

“There’s a variety of issues in our group that aren’t as accessible however folks suppose they’re,” mentioned Ford-Grant.

Particular Olympics Wooden Buffalo closed in 2011 after the one bowling alley on the town closed. Bowling is without doubt one of the group’s high sports activities and when it ended, the remainder of this system shut down. The opening of The Alley kickstarted a renewed curiosity in Particular Olympics. A brand new board was fashioned in January 2020, however went on hiatus through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Each Madigan and Squires have been with the unique group and have been completely happy to see Particular Olympics again in Fort McMurray. There at the moment are 42 native athletes registered with the group.

“I hope it stays right here for a very long time,” mentioned Madigan.

For now, the group is operating ground hockey, bowling and golf. Ford-Grant hopes to launch extra sports activities packages, together with bocce ball, curling and swimming. If the municipality builds the Northside twin arenas, ice sports activities may additionally turn out to be a chance. The primary barrier is getting volunteers, in addition to house for practices. The group additionally fundraises to make accessible sports activities as reasonably priced as doable.

“We run on volunteers. If we don’t get coaches and volunteers, we are able to’t do programming,” she mentioned. “However after we get sports activities going, it’s actually incredible to see their confidence develop.”

-with information from Lindsay Morey and Laura Beamish

Fort McMurray As we speak is launching a e-newsletter. You may join the e-newsletter right here.

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