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Greater Vernon will be a hub of activity in 13 months time.
More than 800 athletes with intellectual disabilities from all over B.C. and the Yukon will descend on the North Okanagan city for the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games.
Athletes will be supporting by more than 250 volunteer coaches and mission staff.
The 2019 games will be the biggest games yet, with athletes competing in eight sports, including five-pin bowling, which is moving from the summer to winter competition.
For many of the Special Olympics athletes, provincial competitions like this one are their first opportunity to have the joy of travelling and being part of a team.
They’ll have a chance to gain even more experience after the games too, as the top performers in Vernon will qualify for spots on Team BC for the 2020 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Ontario.
Those games then act as a qualifier for the 2021 Special Olympics World Winter Games.
“We are very honoured to be chosen as the host community for the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games,” said Vernon mayor Akbal Mund. “We have a strong volunteer base for hosting games within Greater Vernon over the past years.”
“Special Olympics is an integral part not only for the participants, but the parents and coaches who dedicate countless hours to provide competition for athletes who otherwise may not have the opportunity to excel at the sport they love.”
The opening ceremonies for the games will be help on Feb. 21, followed by two days of competition on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23.
A volunteer recognition breakfast will follow on Feb. 24 to give thanks to the over 1,000 volunteers that will be needed to help stage this event.
Volunteer registration details and venues will be announced in the weeks to come, but you can learn more about the games by visiting the Special Olympics BC website.