April 15, 2024

This was the primary time Particular Olympics Wooden Buffalo despatched athletes to compete nationally after successful medals final yr at provincials.

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5 Particular Olympic athletes have returned to Fort McMurray with eight medals after competing in five-pin bowling on the Particular Olympics Canada Winter Video games in Calgary.

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The 5 native athletes received a bronze medal within the crew class. A bronze, silver and gold medal had been received by three athletes within the particular person classes. This was the primary time Particular Olympics Wooden Buffalo despatched athletes to compete nationally after successful medals final yr at provincials in Strathcona County.

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“Our athletes have labored so onerous. They’ve taken no day off. Anytime we ask if they need a break, they mentioned no. They practiced and educated for a yr with out grievance and put the work in,” mentioned Christal Ford-Grant, chair of Particular Olympics Wooden Buffalo, in an interview.

“We talked to the athletes and informed them to soak up the expertise, we could or could not get a medal. We’re going up towards one of the best of one of the best in Canada. That’s what we had been doing and we received,” she mentioned. “They’ve been ecstatic. It was an enormous expertise for them they’ve by no means had earlier than.”

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Ford-Grant says their provincial and nationwide success has been a sudden shock. Particular Olympics Wooden Buffalo closed in 2011 when the one bowling alley in Fort McMurray shut down.

Bowling is without doubt one of the group’s hottest sports activities. When it ended, the remainder of Particular Olympics Wooden Buffalo ultimately closed, too. The opening of The Alley introduced a renewed curiosity in relaunching Particular Olympics. A brand new board was shaped in January 2020, however the group went on hiatus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group travelled to provincials in February 2023, about six months after athletes resumed coaching. Each athlete returned residence with gold, silver and bronze medals in bowling and ground hockey. This left Ford-Grant astounded.

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“We had been simply sort of shocked and flabbergasted at how effectively we did contemplating we had solely been going for six months,” she mentioned. “It was fairly an accomplishment to be chosen to signify Alberta nationally contemplating it hadn’t been a full yr of operating when that occurred.”

Ford-Grant says she hopes to ship groups to compete in golf and 10-pin bowling at subsequent yr’s summer season video games. The group’s management additionally hopes to incorporate extra sports activities, though that is depending on volunteers. Volunteers and sponsors can contact Ford-Grant at [email protected].

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