Area athletes prepare for B.C. Seniors Games

Two dozen athletes from the area get ready for the Seniors Games in Kamloops.

Maria Russell Martin and John Farmer are competing in their third Seniors Games.

Maria Russell Martin and John Farmer are competing in their third Seniors Games.

When the BC Seniors’ Games kick off in Kamloops this week, our area will be well represented. Almost two dozen competitors from Clinton, Cache Creek, Ashcroft, Lytton, and Savona will be taking part in the Games, in disciplines ranging from archery to track and field.

“It’s a great chance to play with other people, which is wonderful when you’re from a small town,” said Maria Russell Martin of Ashcroft, who is taking part in mixed doubles tennis. “I love the game, so any chance I get to play, I take it. And I’ll get to watch some some fine tennis. It’s so much fun to see such a high level of skill.”

This is the third time she has competed at the Games, and she finds the event a treat. “Everyone is out there giving it their all,” she said.

Frank Mierau, also of Ashcroft, is taking part in his first Games. “I’ve always wanted to do it,” he said, “and this was my chance, with the Games only being an hour away this year. I’m taking the plunge. I couldn’t resist it.”

The 82-year-old athlete will be competing in three cycling events: a 14km time trial, a 42km long distance race, and a 2.7km hill climb. He is taking the events seriously, even travelling out to Dallas to look at the 7km route for the time trial and long distance races, then staking out a similar route closer to home to practice on.

“It was a challenge finding somewhere,” he said with a laugh. “The road is pretty rough out here, and it’s hard to find somewhere flat.” He eventually staked out a 7km section of Hwy. 1 starting just south of Ashcroft Manor.

“I’m looking forward to the Games. I don’t know what to expect, but I’ll soon find out.”

Lytton’s Bernie Fandrich is also taking part in his first Games, in archery. “I just decided to give it a try because I enjoy shooting my bow and I enjoy competition. Since I’ve never competed in the Games before I’m keen to discover how well other old farts are shooting their bows.”

There are four athletes from Lytton taking part this year. “We met yesterday and decided we didn’t need a Lytton cheer . . . but we had an enthusiastic ‘good luck’ huddle,” said Fandrich.

The first Seniors Games was held in Vernon in 1988, with 600 people competing. Since then the event has grown every year, and Kamloops will see close to 4,000 athletes competing in twenty-five events. The Games are open to anyone aged 55 or older, with many of the sports allowing competition in different age categories.

This year’s Seniors Games begins on Wednesday, Aug. 21 and runs through Saturday the 24th, with competition starting every day at 8:00 am. The opening ceremony is Wednesday at 7:00 pm at the Tournament Capital Centre, with the closing ceremony in the same venue on Saturday at 3:30 pm.

Spectators are encouraged to come along and cheer on the athletes from all over the province. The full schedule of events, times, and venues can be found at www.2013kamloopsbcseniorsgames.org

Here are the area residents competing in this year’s Games:

Clinton: Floyd Haller, Slo Pitch

Cache Creek: Linda Holland, Equestrian; Gordon Daily, Darlene Daily, Golf

Ashcroft: Myron Erickson, Lorraine Shawaluk, Cribbage; Frank Mierau, Cycling; Arlene Lebedoff, Darts; David Ogilvie, Golf; Nick Lebedoff, Muriel Scallon, Horseshoes; Ina Gory, Andrea Walker, Bruce Walker, Colin Williams, Curling; Mike Baldwin, Slo Pitch; John Farmer, Maria Russell Martin, Tennis

Lytton: Bernie Fandrich, Archery; Robert Bolan, Badminton; Judith Urquhart, Golf; Nonie McCann, Track and Field

Savona: Aileen Lamberton, Darts

Barbara Roden

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