Campbell River’s Special Olympics athletes came home with an impressive collection of medals from the recent national games.
The games were held in Antigonish, N.S., from July 31 to Aug. 4, with Campbell River sending a contingent of five athletes and three coaches to the event.
Track athletes Ashley Adie and Hazen Meade, basketball player Nathan Luoma, powerlifter Callum Maclagan and swimmer Paul Aubuchon were joined by local coaches Sandy Ott, Ann Jorgensen and George Maclagan as part of the 244-member team representing B.C. (Another athlete, Gabe Young, competed in the National Bowling Championships in May in P.E.I. and won a silver in 10-pin bowling.)
Each athlete brought home at least one medal and a few set personal bests for results. Adie, for example, set three personal best performances to go with her trio of medals.
“I went in with a dead-set goal of meeting or beating my personal bests,” she said. “When I got my first medal, which was the gold, I was crying, I was so happy…. The competition’s a bit more stiff than I had anticipated.”
She admits the trip was exhausting, saying it was “go-go-go,” but she credits the host communtiy for making everyone feel welcome.
“Their hospitality was amazing, they bent over backwards for us,” she said. “They treated us like celebrities.”
As a coach, George Maclagan sung the praises of all the athletes from Campbell River.
“They’re good citizens, they represented the community really well,” he said, adding Mayor Andy Adams had given them pins to hand out to people they met in Nova Scotia.
The athletes qualified based on performances in Kamloops in 2017, as well as being endorsed by their community, and Maclagan credited them for their commitment to their training and their coaches. He personally could attest for the development Callum had shown over the past year.
“What he was finishing with a year ago in Kamloops as a personal best became openers for him,” he said.
Maclagan paid credit to all the local athletes for the work they put in, as well as their strong results.
“Ashley did incredibly well, Hazen did incredibly well, Nathan, at 17, to win a gold with a team out of Kelowna, he had to commit to training with a team that’s in the centre of B.C. It’s just a huge story,” he said. “Paul Aubuchan swam as hard and as well as he has in all his swimming career.”
For its regular activies, Special Olympics relies on events like the upcoming Howie Meeker Golf Classic to raise funds to cover programming and travel.
“Everything about Special Olympics is sport, but it’s so much more,” Maclagan added. “It’s just so much more.”
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Results from the Games:
Paul Aubuchon, Swimming
100m Back 4th 2:28
400m Freestyle BRONZE
100m Freestyle 2:08 False start
200m Freestyle GOLD 4;40.
50m Backstroke 5th 1:04.84
Ashley Adie, Track
Three personal best performances
Shotput, 5th 23.26
Long Jump GOLD 9.9 metres
800m SILVER 2:53
4×4 Relay BRONZE
Hazen Meade, Track
Two personal best performances
3000m GOLD 11:47
1500m SILVER 5.12.
Standing Long Jump 5th 5’9″.
Nathan Luoma, Basketball
Member of the B.C. Ogopogos. GOLD
Callum MacLagan, Powerlifting
Bench Press. GOLD, 308LB, a personal best
Male Squat SILVER 336LB
Male Dead Lift BRONZE 440
Combine Lift SILVER 1084