SOUTHWESTERN N.S. – There’s sure to be lots of enthusiasm when Special Olympians from across Nova Scotia gather in Halifax for their provincial summer games, which will take place June 8-10.
Of the Special Olympic programs in the tri-counties, Shelburne is sending the largest group to the provincial games, a contingent of 32 people that includes 23 athletes, five coaches, a chef de mission and support staff.
Kim Arcon, regional co-ordinator for Special Olympics in Shelburne, said the athletes are looking forward to the games.
“They’re really excited,” she said, “because it’s more than just going there to compete in their sport. They look forward to the dance on Saturday night and the pizza party and catching up with the friends that they’ve met over the years.”
Shelburne athletes will compete in track and field, softball and bocce.
This is the first time in many years the Shelburne Special Olympics program has had a softball team, Arcon said.
“We received $10,000 from the 100 Women Who Care of Shelburne County and with that we outfitted our softball team with equipment and we bought all the athletes a complete new uniform, so they will be sporting their new uniforms for the first time at the summer games and they’re all pretty excited about that,” Arcon said.
Meanwhile, among those who will join the Shelburne contingent in Halifax for the provincial summer games is a group from Clare. Athletes from that program will compete in track and field, swimming and bocce. The Clare group going to Halifax consists of 21 people, including 12 athletes.
Yarmouth is sending four people – three athletes and a coach – to the provincial games. The Yarmouthians are part of the Nova Scotia softball team that will take part in the Special Olympic nationals to be held later this summer in Antigonish. They will use the provincials to help prepare for the national games.
Digby has no one taking part in this year’s provincial summer games, but they are said to be gearing up for the next winter games.
Getting back to the Shelburne group, Arcon said the athletes welcome the chance to return to provincials. Each member of the Shelburne team has been to provincials before, she said.
“It’s always a lot of fun (going to the games),” she said. “These guys have a really good time.”