Special Olympics Trail is sending a strong group of athletes to compete in the 2014 Canadian Special Olympics Canada Summer Games at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver July 8-12.
Trail’s Sherry Altrogge and coach Colin Berdusco will be joining the Team BC’s swimming contingent, while Neil Emery and Bob Lattanzio with coach Alan Prough will compete in Bocce, and Al Cummings from Castlegar with coach Ben Postmus will tee off against Canada’s best Special Olympic golfers at the UBC course.
Altrogge led the Kootenay Zone at the Special Olympic B.C. Summer Games last July swimming to five gold medals and a silver and will dedicate these Games to her Aunt Cecil Rupert (nee Boilard) who passed away in April after a four year battle with cancer.
Emery and Lattanzio were also golden at the B.C. Games winning in the team Bocce event, while Cummings picked up a silver in golf, just missing the gold by one stroke. For Emery this will be his second national championships having competed in Edmonton in 1989 in floor hockey.
“The ‘Team BC – Team Domination’ philosophy has been an added incentive for the host team,” said Special O coach Postmus in an email. “We’re hoping to get a jump on all other provinces with the home-field advantage.”
The Trail squad will join 1,700 other athletes from all the provinces as well as the Yukon and NWT, in what is projected to be the largest national games yet.
Team B.C. will have close to 280 athletes competing, 70 coaches, and 14 mission staff. Supporting these athletes will be 1,100 volunteers in 11 sports.
The athletes have been training hard with their coaches throughout the winter season in preparation for these games, and have also been to several training cawmps in Vancouver.
The support of local businesses, organizations, and volunteers has made the difference for Greater Trail Special Olympians and their ability to excel on the regional and national stage.
“We couldn’t provide the level of support for the athletes if the community didn’t buy in,” said Postmus. “So whether it’s the radio and paper guys come to play floor hockey or the ski hill providing the ski passes, or the golf course guys giving us seasons passes. To put a dollar figure on all that stuff we just couldn’t do it. Without the community support, we just couldn’t do it.”