MINDEMOYA—Each of the Manitoulin Special Olympics (MSO) athletes who took part in the Canada Special Olympics National Games held in Antigonish, Nova Scotia last week, brought home medals.

“It was a phenomenal games,” said MSO coach and coordinator Janet Anning (who coached the local athletes at the nationals), this past Monday. “And our athletes all did amazing, against very tough competition.”
MSO athlete Matthew Bedard won a gold medal in his 400 metre race. “It was a phenomenal race, he had to come from behind to win, it was incredible,” said Ms. Anning.

Austin Featherstone brought home two medals from the games, a silver medal in his 3,000 metre race and a bronze medal in the 1,500 metre race. Kelsey Mellan garnered a silver medal in the shotput, and Mark Dokum brought home three bronze medals, from javelin, relay and shotput.

“Each of our athletes posted personal best times in their races,” said Ms. Anning.  “Although he didn’t win his 100 metre race, Mark also posted a personal best time.”

Matthew Bedard shows his gold medal winning form in the 400 metre race.

MSO softball coach Sandy Graham coached the Almaguin team at the Nationals. “Sandy’s team won a silver medal,” said Ms. Anning, who explained, “this team actually moved up to the A division. Originally they were a C division level team, but they have improved so much in the past year or so they have moved up to the A division.”

“They played a team from Durham in the finals,” continued Ms. Anning, noting that team has played together for the past eight years. “They (Almaguin) held their own for the first four innings and  put on a great showing.”

Ms. Anning explained, “it was very hot in Antigonish all week. No one had air conditioning at the residences the teams stayed, so we went to the Walmart in Sudbury before we got on the plane to Nova Scotia to buy some small fans. It was in the 30s all week in Antigonish. And on Thursday and Friday from 1 to 4 pm there were no outdoor sports held because it was so hot.”

“It was a great games and the people of Antigonish are fabulous people,” said Ms. Anning.

“At this point we don’t know if any of our athletes will be going on to the world games next year in Abu Dhabi,” said Ms. Anning. “This was a very tough competition and although our athletes did very well, we will have to wait and see if they have qualified for the world championships.”