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Special Olympians perform well at Spring Games

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As 125 athletes and countless other volunteers converged on Fort Frances on Saturday for the Ontario Region 8 Spring Games, it didn’t take long to notice these Games were special.

Athletes from Atikokan, Dryden, Kenora, Thunder Bay, and Nipigon competed in five-pin bowling and swimming against their counterparts from Fort Frances.

They were presented with medals at a dinner and dance at the Legion here Saturday night.

“The Games went really well,” enthused volunteer Betty Salchert. “The one good thing is that all the athletes [from here] were able to take part in the events, including the mentally and physically handicapped athletes.”

Athletic co-ordinator Roz Calder said the local contingent did “very well” at the medal podium but added they won’t know for a couple of weeks if any qualified for the provincial games May 7-9 in Oakville.

Three local 10-pin bowlers already qualified for the provincials. Penny Dick, Rose Cunningham, and Danny Smith advanced in the high triple (with handicap) division at a tournament in Atikokan last month.

Dick bowled a 593 total, just ahead of Cunningham (592) and Smith (585).

“Everyone had a great time, things ran smoothly, and everyone did well,” she enthused.

Calder said the morale was always full of energy, with athletes peppering each other with congratulations after every shot and race.

“I think [the support] is really good for the athletes and the encouragement acts like a pat on the back,” she added.

In the pool, Jeannine Shine said the five local swimmers did “very well” despite not always finishing with best times.

“They didn’t always [swim] their best [times] but they always had fun doing it,” she said.

Angie Pernsky led the way for Fort Frances in the pool, finishing first in both the 200m free (5:50.52) and the 100m breast stroke (2:41.76). She also came second in the 100m back (2:41.81).

Arlan Scott was tops in the 25m free (28.32) but he did not finish the 50m free race.

Dick was first in the 25m breast (40.31). She also placed fourth in the 50m free (1:21.57) but was disqualified in the 50m breast.

Joyce Gosselin placed fourth in both the 25m free (34.16) and 25m back (36.38). She was disqualified in the 25m breast race.

Karen Erwin finished with a time of 32:17 in the 25m free (no placing was available), and was disqualified in the 25m breast event.

In five-pin bowling action, a Fort Frances team tied for first place with Dryden, each finishing with 13 points in the match play format (based on pins over average).

A single point was awarded for each individual win.

The top Fort team featured Dave Ducasse, Marilyn Gemmell, Bruce Bellamy, Danny Smith, and Kevin Oster.

Cindy Boundy, Jack McLeod, Larry Flatt, and Stewart Skide were members of the Fort Frances team that placed second with 12 points.

“Everyone did well,” said volunteer Gaby Hanzuk.

“Every athlete has their own goals in their head, and even though they may have had a bad game, they knew there were [two more] games to play,” she added.

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