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Central Newfoundland well represented at Special Olympics Winter Games

Sweeping their way to victory, Gander Wings picked up a gold medal in curling during Newfoundland and Labrador’s Special Olympic Winter Games. The Gander-based team picked up 19 medals throughout the two-weekend event.
Sweeping their way to victory, Gander Wings picked up a gold medal in curling during Newfoundland and Labrador’s Special Olympic Winter Games. The Gander-based team picked up 19 medals throughout the two-weekend event. - Contributed

Without a dedicated alley, Bonavista North picks up gold medal in bowling

GANDER, N.L. —

After two weekends of Special Olympics competition, there was a lot of pride in central Newfoundland.

The Central Voice checked in with three local teams about their performance during the province’s 2019 Special Olympic Winter Games, which ran from Feb. 22-24 for individual sports and March 1-3 for team play, in Grand Falls-Windsor.

Polar Bears

While the Bonavista North Polar Bears didn’t have a large team — just seven athletes made up the contingent — team vice president Hubert Spurrell says he’s proud of what they accomplished. 

Bonavista North Polar Bear Travis Spurrell celebrates his gold medal in the 100-metre snowshoe race. - Contributed
Bonavista North Polar Bear Travis Spurrell celebrates his gold medal in the 100-metre snowshoe race. - Contributed

In individual snowshoe competition, the Polar Bears took home a gold in the 100-metre, two bronze in the 200-metre, and collected a series of placement ribbons.

In team play the Kittiwake Coast team picked up a gold medal in their bowling division, with Raymond Welcher receiving gold and Wallace Winter receiving bronze for pins over average, an impressive feat given the fact the Polar Bears don’t have a dedicated bowling alley.

“We travel into Gander three or four times a year to get our games in to establish an average,” Spurrell said.

The remainder of the team’s practice takes place on makeshift bowling lanes they set up at the Lions Club in Badger’s Quay.

“It’s 30 feet compared to a 60-foot alley, but we get two lanes going on the nights we play,” he said.

And it makes for a fun environment, which Spurrell says makes it worth the effort.

“It’s not always about the medals, it’s about the fun, and we certainly have fun.”

Exploits Hurricanes

Host to this year’s winter games, the Exploits Hurricanes had 34 participants. According to Michelle Rye-Gardner, every athlete medaled. A breakdown of medals wasn’t available before deadline.

Gander Wings

The Gander Wings Special Olympics had 28 athletes take part in the Games.

Club coordinator Marg Byrd said months of preparation and training produced very successful results for everyone.

The club picked up 19 medals – 10 gold, three silver and six bronze – and a series of ribbons in snowshoeing, cross country skiing, curling and bowling.

“Gander Wings Club is very proud of all athletes’ results,” said Byrd. “It goes to show how hard work and practice pays off. Each and every one of our athletes displayed true sportsmanship and exemplified the Special Olympics oath: Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

adam.randell@thecentralvoice.ca

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