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Record medal haul for Special Olympians at B.C. Games

A big Yukon team got big results at the 2013 Special Olympics British Columbia Summer Games last week in Langley.

A big Yukon team got big results at the 2013 Special Olympics British Columbia Summer Games last week in Langley.

Special Olympics Yukon sent its largest-ever team to the quadrennial event with 21 athletes and over a dozen coaches, managers and staff.

The large team set a high-water mark for the territory at the Games that ended Saturday.

Yukon amassed 20 medals, a record for the territory at the B.C. Games. That’s almost three times as many as the seven won by Yukon at the previous B.C. Games in 2009.

“I think it went very well, especially since we had a relatively new group of coaches,” said Yukon team manager Janine Peters. “So we had some first-timers on the coach side and first-timers on the (athlete) side. I think it was a great experience for everyone involved and it really didn’t hurt that we had no rain.

“The experience was a good stepping stone, a good precursor, for the nationals that happen next year in Vancouver at UBC (University of British Columbia). It was just a really good way for them to get some firsthand experience.”

Every Yukon swimmer and athletics competitor posted personal best times at the Games. None left empty-handed.

Yukon’s Darby McIntyre made the most out of his first Games outside the territory with the team.

The 13-year-old won gold in the standing long jump and the 5,000-metre, breaking the 20-minute mark at (19:52). He also claimed silver in shot put and bronze in the 1,500-metre.

Those results made McIntyre the overall winner for his division.

“It was a great first experience for him,” said Peters. “He’s a young fellow, but very enthusiastic and very, very fast ... He’s got a long career ahead of him.”

Teammate Mallory Pigage has competed in bowling, bocce and swimming at previous Games. This time she put her energies into track and darted to gold in the 100-metre.

Whitehorse’s Jessica Pruden matched her medal count from the 2009 Games with three. She threw to gold in shot put, leaped to silver in the standing long jump and ran to silver in the 100-metre dash.

After winning gold and silver at the 2009 Games, Yukon’s Owen Munroe knocked it up a notch. He won gold in the standing long jump, as he did in 2009, and gold in the 1,500-metre. Munroe has also competed internationally, winning two bronze medals in cross-country skiing at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

First-time competitor Kevin Spofford made waves in Langley. Spofford swam to silver in the 25-metre freestyle, the 25-metre backstroke and the 50-metre freestyle. He also collected a bronze medal in the 50-metre backstroke.

Ernest Chua, swimming in his first Games on Team Yukon, was a triple-gold winner, placing first in the 100- and 200-metre freestyle races and the 100-metre backstroke.

Yukon’s Stefan Oettli won silver in the 50-metre freestyle.

Not all of the hardware came through individual efforts. Yukon won silver on the soccer pitch for the second B.C. Games in a row.

The team - Kenny Atlin, Rachel Dawson, William Everett, Teddy Jackson, Christopher Lee, Marvin Hall, Gaetan Michaud, Stephen Magundy, Mike Sumner and Duncan Gibb - defeated rival Prince George 3-1 to advance to the division B final where they lost to Chilliwack.

Yukon’s bocce team of Aimee Lien, Taylor Amundson, Trevor Beemish and Teresa Roberts rolled their way to bronze in the C division.

The territory’s two golfers were edged out of medals but both posted personal best scores.

J.S. Gallant carded a 54 on his opening nine-hole round en route to fourth in his division. Tijana McCarthy shot a personal best 72 on her way to fifth in her division.

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