While many of us are merely dreaming of summer as the snow continues to pile up, Special Olympics Yukon is busy planning for it.
On Saturday at the Sport Yukon building the organization announced its training squad, the largest contingent to be sent to a national competition as it plans for the 2010 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games being held in London, Ontario, July 13-17.
“What makes these Games even more special is the fact that this year Special Olympics Yukon is sending our biggest team ever to the national Games,” said Team Yukon Chef de Mission Natasha Jaczek. “Nineteen athletes and 10 coaches and missions staff are part of our team and I’m sure we’re going to make Yukon proud.”
More than 1,000 athletes competing in eight different sports are expected at the Games. In July, Yukon athletes will be competing in athletics, fivepins bowling, soccer and swimming.
This Summer Games will be a chance for Team Yukon to carry on from its successes last summer.
In July, the territory won seven medals at the 2009 Special Olympics BC Provincial Summer Games.
Athletics competitor Jessica Pruden, who was named to Yukon’s training squad, produced personal bests in all four of her events at the BC Provincials. However, topping the Whitehorse resident’s list of achievements were gold-medal performances in the 100-metre dash and shot put. She also took silver in the standing long jump.
Yukon’s other multiple medal winner in BC was Whitehorse’s Owen Munroe, who took gold in the standing long jump and a silver in the 1,500-metre run.
In February, at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho, Munroe won two bronze medals in cross-country skiing. Munroe earned his spot on the national team for Idaho by winning gold the previous year at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Quebec City, in the five-kilometre classic in cross-country skiing.
The Yukon’s other two medals at the BC Provincial Games were both silvers and came in soccer and bocce. Although bocce is not included in the Summer Games, Team Yukon named all the players and the head coach from the BC Provincials to the training squad for London.
“All the athletes on the training squad were chosen because they participated in qualifying events throughout 2009,” said Jaczek.
“All of you are here because you committed to training towards the 2010 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in London, so congratulations guys!”
The swim and bowling athletes qualified for the training squad during local events in April 2009.
Team Yukon 2010 Training Squad
Head coach – Lindsay Agar
Head coach – Janine Peters
– Christina McGillivray
Coach – Brian Gillen
Head Coach – Christine Larsen
Chef de Mission – Natasha Jaczek
Team manager – Thomas Gibbs
Mission staff – Ammon Hoefs
Mission staff – TBA
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