CHARLOTTETOWN – It will be a history-making week on Prince Edward Island for Special Olympics Canada.
Over 400 athletes, coaches and mission staff will gather in Canada’s smallest province for the Special Olympics Canada 2018 bowling championships – the first event of its kind for Special Olympics Canada.
“Special Olympics Canada is thrilled to be in P.E.I. for this once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Special Olympics Canada CEO Sharon Bollenbach. “These bowling championships are an exciting opportunity to celebrate one of our most popular sports, while allowing more athletes to experience competition at a national level.”
Bollenbach expressed her appreciation to the host communities of Charlottetown, Summerside and Tyne Valley, sponsors, members of the host committee and event volunteers.
“We are excited to kick off this week of competition,” added Bollenbach in a news release.
The championships will feature athletes from across the country in fivepin and tenpin disciplines. Tenpin athletes are competing to qualify for a roster spot on Team Canada heading to the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi in March.
Special Olympics P.E.I. will be represented by nine athletes, two coaches and two mission staff members. Genna Phelan of Charlottetown is P.E.I.’s chef de mission, and Lynda Hontscharowicz, also of Charlottetown, is team manager. Rickey Burns of Charlottetown is the head coach of P.E.I.’s fivepin team, and Ann Kilby of Tyne Valley is head coach of the tenpin squad.
All of the fivepin action will take place at the Murphy’s Community Centre in Charlottetown. The tenpin competition will be shared between the Tyne Valley lanes and Credit Union Place in Summerside.
The championships kick off with what will be a celebration of P.E.I. culture during the opening ceremony at UPEI on Tuesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. There will be performances by local P.E.I. artists Rachel Beck and Lennie Gallant, and a dancer/fiddler group from the region.
Competition begins Wednesday, and continues until Saturday, when the closing ceremonies take place at Credit Union Place at 7 p.m.
All competitions and events, including the opening and closing ceremonies, are open to the public.
Established in 1969, the Canadian chapter of this international movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through the transformative power and joy of sport. Operating out of sport clubs in 12 provincial and territorial chapters, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sports to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities.
From two-year-olds to mature adults, more than 45,000 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics’ year-round programs across Canada. They are supported by more than 21,000 volunteers, including more than 16,000 trained coaches.