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Victoria sending 18 athletes to Special Olympics Canada Summer Games

Island athletes will compete in Nova Scotia in golf, swimming, gymnastics and softball
Swimmer Cheyenne Furlong-Goos will attempt to make the podium again after bringing home five medals from the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games in Kamloops. Photo contributed

When the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games open in Nova Scotia at the end of the month, B.C. will send 18 Victoria-based athletes to aim for the podium in four sports.

Golfer Nick Farrell, who qualified for the national games after winning a gold medal at the provincial games, will be joined by coaches Lynn Harrisen, Jason Yan, and Greg Ross.

Desiree Grubell and Brittany Scruton will compete in rhythmic gymnastics under the guidance of coach Michelle Cooper, and Victoria’s swimming contingent is comprised of athletes Terri Carelius, Kelsey Simpson, Cheyenne Furlong-Goos and Aly White.

The Victoria Capitals softball team will also be competing, coached by Nicole Bracewell, in Antigonish where the Games run July 31 until Aug. 4.

Members of the Victoria Capitals softball team will compete in the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games July 31-Aug. 4 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Photo contributed

“They have worked very hard to train for the Games and we are so hopeful that they will have an amazing time in Antigonish,” said local athlete co-ordinator Kendal Alston.

Everyone at Special Olympics BC in Victoria is so proud of the national athletes, she added.

Victoria’s 18 athletes and five coaches are among the 174 athletes and 54 coaches that will represent 38 communities across B.C. who qualified for nationals based on their performances at the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games.

Nationals mark the qualifiers for the Special Olympics World Games, which are slated to take place in 2019 in Abu Dhabi.

RELATED: Victoria area athlete wins BC Athletic Achievement Award

Special Olympics BC will kick off a year-long celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the organization this Saturday (July 21), the Global Day of Inclusion. Communities across the province will illuminate the night sky red, including at the legislature.

“For the past 50 years, Special Olympics has been enriching the lives of Canadians with intellectual disabilities through the transformative power of sport, but we can’t do it alone – nor can the 800,000 Canadians with an intellectual disability,” said Dan Howe, president and CEO of Special Olympics BC.

Special Olympics stands as a beacon for inclusion, he said, adding that it is incredibly uplifting to see how much participants’ lives have improved.

The first year of Special Olympics saw just Canada and the U.S. involved – now 172 countries and more than 4.9 million athletes take part in local programs and competitions at all levels.