Special Olympics bowlers score on national stage

The team brought home three medals from the National Winter Games in Thunder Bay

A Special Olympics bowling team from Penticton had some impressive results last week at the National Winter Games in Thunder Bay.

The team of five bowlers came home with two gold medals, one silver medal and two personal best scores.

Special Olympics bowling has taken place in Penticton for more than 32 years and head coach Fae Hodgins has coached 30 of them.

READ MORE: Kelowna Special Olympics skater to perform at Rock the Rink tour

After qualifying for nationals at a tournament in Vernon, Hodgins said she and the athletes spent the weeks leading up to the nationals on a special training program consisting of heavy cardio and a strict diet.

The hard work clearly paid off for the team. Greg Ovenden and Shawn Blatz won gold in their respective divisions while Hodgins’ sister, Jeri Lee, received the silver medal in her division.

Jeri Lee Hodgins celebrates her silver medal victory in Thunder Bay. (Fae Hodgins photo)

Lynden Hicks and Darryl Hagel both placed fourth in their divisions and both set new records for personal bests.

Hodgins said everyone on the team had an amazing time and were well received by the people of Thunder Bay.

“Everyone in Thunder Bay was incredible,” she said. “They were cheering us all on and were just super supportive, it was awesome.”

Over 1,000 athletes from across the country gathered in Thunder Bay to compete. Needless to say, Hodgins is thrilled with her team’s results.

“I was so proud of them. They all did really well,” she said. “It was amazing especially because it was their first time going to nationals. I’m really proud of those guys.”

READ MORE: Record-breaking $140,000 raised for Special Olympics at Okanagan fundraiser


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