Pictured, left to right: Kelly Soroka, Special Olympics volunteer, Noah Trainer, Brogan Beliveau, Miles Gillett, Martin O’Brien, Special Olympics volunteer, Greg Stubbington, Allan Sandner and Steve Sutherland. (Jacob Noseworthy/Grand Forks Gazette)

Special Olympics athletes wrap up the year

It was a great year for Special Olympics in Grand Forks.

By Jacob Noseworthy

A number of athletes, coaches and volunteers were on hand as Special Olympics BC – Grand Forks wrapped up their year with their annual general meeting, a dinner, and a game of bocce at Gyro Park on June 28.

The event marked the end of the year-long program run exclusively for adults with intellectual disabilities, according to the group’s Public Relations Coordinator Dale Redford.

“We offer many sporting options and programs which enable [the athletes] to extend themselves, feel good about themselves and learn what it’s like to be a successful athlete,” Redford said. “It really seems to bring the best out of them and they do very well competing and have fun doing it.”

It also served as a celebration for the athletes who compete in several sports during the year, including alpine skiing, five-pin bowling, floor hockey, golf, softball, swimming and more.

Allan Sandner, the elder statesman of the Grand Forks team, proudly recounted his recent birdie at the Cascade Par 3 golf course.

“On my last hole, number nine, I chipped in the hole for a two,” Sandner said. “And Noah [Trainer, another Special Olympics athlete] just about did too, but he hit the flag and it came out.”

Although the event marked the close of the year of competition, it also begins a new year where Special Olympics BC – Grand Forks and their athletes look to continue to grow.

“This is a great opportunity for us to reach out into the community to our adults with intellectual disabilities,” Redford said. “[We’re looking forward to] continuing to offer them some programming that can help them to mature and grow as individuals and athletes.”

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