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B.C. Games officially underway

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The province has officially been welcomed by the North Okanagan.

On Wednesday, 3,600 athletes marched into the 55+ BC Games opening ceremony at Kal Tire Place as dignitaries and residents cheered them on.

"You're going to have a fun time. We're going to make sure you have a fun time," said Wee Yee, Games president.

"I see a lot of people rekindling friendships and people will make new friendships."

The Games, which run until Saturday, involve 27 sports in Greater Vernon and Armstrong-Spallumcheen.

"We've worked together to bring all of the events to the right venues," said Akbal Mund, Vernon mayor.

Mund also took time to praise the organizing committee.

"There's been two years of planning and they have to do a lot of hard work."

Official welcomes also came from the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee and the Armstrong-Spallumcheen Parks and Recreation Commission.

Also participating in the ceremony were the Splatsin and the Okanagan Indian Band.

"We have a long history of athletics in our nation. The elders tell me we had our form of the Olympics," said Dan Wilson, OKIB councillor.

The oldest athlete participating is 97-year-old Bill Falconer from Kamloops while Kitimat's Maxine Smallwood was recognized for taking part in 30 Games.

Among those looking forward to competition is 91-year-old Albert Bianco, from Salmon Arm.

"I've been practising," said the horseshoe player.

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