Let the games begin in Vernon

From high jump to darts the B.C. 55 + Games are underway in Vernon.

The competition is fierce yet fun as the province’s most advanced athletes are in town for the BC 55+ Games.

It’s been 30 years since Vernon hosted the games and this time it’s a lot bigger with more athletes and events. The 1987 Games had a showing of 600 athletes, compared to 3,600 this year, with far fewer events, while the 30th Games includes 27 different sports.

“I remember them, I remember when they came,” said Diana Williamson, director for the Greater Vernon Games. “It’s back to where it all began 30 years ago, so it’s pretty exciting.”

The Okanagan-Similkameen, zone five, represents 806 athletes, so there’s a strong showing locally.

While many of those competing are in their early senior years, there are many who are proving that age doesn’t have to slow you down.

Among the oldest competitors are 97-year-old Bill Falconer of Kamloops, who is competing in track and field. There’s also 95-year-olds playing cribbage, floor curling and even equestrian. Swimming includes a couple 93-year-olds as well as Vernon’s own Mira Grypink, 85, who competed in the Games 30 years ago and is back at it again this year, along with her daughters Jacquie and Monique.

Sherrie McGraw, a distance runner from the Lower Mainland, says she loves the Games and it’s her second time as a competitor.

“I love running in general so this kind f puts another spin on it,” she said. “I prefer to do half-marathons, I have more time to play the field a little more, this is pretty intense.”

Organizer and table tennis player John Neilson says there are 106 players in his sport from all over the province.

“We have a few from Vernon, about four of us playing, and then there is a large number from the coast coming up and they are very good,” explained Neilson. “We actually don’t have a lot of the young ones here, the biggest age groups are over 70.”

And of course it wouldn’t be the senior games without darts.

Hedley McMullan has been playing darts since the 1990s, as it was a family affair.

“People say, ‘oh you’re going to the senior games?’” said McMullan. “Well, don’t forget there is a lot of good dart players in the senior games because we all played against each other coming up to get to be a senior, and now we are all seniors they are all still there, and they are still good players.”

The closing ceremonies are slated for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Vernon Recreation Complex.

Just Posted

Video: Update one man arrested in Okanagan Falls

The RCMP has requested the school go into lockdown

Christmas hamper volunteers pitch in to give back to Penticton

Volunteers begin work in preparation for Salvation Army hamper distribution

New acting vice principal for Penticton Secondary School

The Board of Education of School District No. 67 (Okanagan Skaha) announced a new appointment

TGIF: South Okanagan events

Live theatre, concerts, events, art exhibits and more from around the South Okanagan

Osoyoos, Oliver jump into grant pool

Oliver applies for $100,000 grant to explore building indoor pool for Osoyoos, Oliver residents

What’s happening

Find out about the events happening in your community this weekend

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Michaels: Big Brother has become a big letdown

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide, but privacy should still have some appeal.”

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

Accused Shuswap drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Most Read