South Okanagan has 15 athletes competing in B.C. Winter Games
More than 1,300 athletes are competing in the Mission 2014 BC Winter Games that begin Feb. 20.
Of that total, 15 are from Oliver, Summerland and Penticton.
Representing the Thompson/Okanagan zone 2 from Penticton are James Naude, Matt Finlayson, Shaina Finlayson, Chloe Kober, Brayden Kuroda, Koleton Phipps and Ana Spence in freestyle skiing, while Tim Lord and Greg Ovenden are with Special Olympics basketball. Terry Olfert is coaching the female hockey team. Oliver is represented by Agatka Koczij, an alpine skier. Summerland is represented by Mickayla Becker, Declan Riddle, Simonka Slizek and Takeshi Smith in karate, while Rachel Shanner in cross-country skiing.
Athletes come from every corner of the province and have trained to earn a place to represent their zone at the Games. Competing in 18 different sports, the athletes range in age from nine to 17 (in able-bodied sports). Athletes with a disability will compete in wheelchair basketball, Special Olympics basketball, para-alpine and para-nordic (cross country ski) events.
Mission has up to 2,000 volunteers to be ready to host their first-ever BC Games.
“The future of sport in B.C. is coming to Mission and we are looking forward to seeing these young athletes compete to the best of their ability,” said president and CEO of the B.C. Games Society Kelly Mann in a statement. “The BC Winter Games are the first step towards national and international level competitions where we see B.C. Games alumni taking centre stage.”
The timing of the B.C. Winter Games coincides with the final weekend of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. There are 10 B.C. Games alumni competing for the Canadian Olympic team including 2010 Olympic gold medalist Maëlle Ricker (snowboard), 2011 World Champion Kelsey Serwa (ski cross), Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and former track and field standout turned bobsleigh driver, Justin Kripps.
Along with the athletes will be 346 coaches and 156 officials.
For more information about the BC Winter Games please visit BCGAMES.ORG.