A local athlete will be competing in the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi,
Kristina Richard (Left) with 989XFM News Director Ken Kingston
United Arab Emirates. Kristina Richard of Antigonish is one of six Nova Scotia athletes going to the games, to be held in March. She will compete in Track and Field . This will be Richard’s first World Games. More than 7,000 athletes from over 170 countries will compete in Abu Dhabi.
Richard says she’s touched by the support she’s received from friends and family following word she had qualified for the games.
Richard will be travelling to Toronto next week to participate in a training camp with the more than 100 Canadian athletes that will participate in the World Games. Richard won a gold and two silver medals at the Special Olympics National Games in Antigonish this summer.
Kia Canada, one of the funding partners for the 2018 Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games, presented a $165,820 cheque to games organizers today.
Ted Lancaster, chief operating officer for Kia Canada, was on hand for the presentation. He said the company had a competition with their dealerships in July, which resulted in the funding. He said they were proud of the accomplishment, adding he was happy to present the cheque.
Lancaster said he looked forward to taking in more of the games on Friday afternoon.
Premier Stephen McNeil was in Antigonish on Tuesday to take part in the opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics Canada National Summer games.
McNeil thanked Special Olympics Canada for taking a chance and awarding hosting duties to Antigonish. He said the decision will definitely pay off. McNeil thanked Antigonishers for their hospitality, warmth, and their embracing of the games. He also gave a nod to sponsors Sobeys and Michelin, not just for their funding but also their corporate inclusion.
To the athletes, McNeil thanked them and said he was proud of their efforts, determination, and for what they are teaching everyone else: what it means to be human.
Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced $16 million in funding for Special Olympics while in Antigonish to take in the Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games. The funding will be spread over five years, starting this year, with an additional $2 million per year ongoing.
The investment is intended to provide long-term funding for the Special Olympics, which supports more than 45,000 people. Duncan said the federal government fully supports Special Olympics and thanked local residents for embracing the games.
The funding also celebrates the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics.
An organizer says the Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games could be the largest event the town’s ever seen.
Carl Chisholm, co-chair for the event, said while Antigonish held national championships in the past, the Special Olympics arer something special. Over 14-hundred athletes, officials and mission staff will be attending the games, as well as spectators and volunteers.
The Games will run from Wednesday Through Saturday. All events are free and everyone is encouraged to come out and cheer on the competitors. The sports involved include track and field, bocce, basketball, golf, powerlifting, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, softball, and swimming. The opening ceremonies take place at the Keating Centre.
With a little over a month ago left to go for 2018 Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games, staff at St. FX University are busy preparing to welcome more than one thousand athletes. St. FX will be the major hub for the games, with the student residences serving as the athletes village. The University also serves as the venue for a number of sports, including track and field, swimming, soccer, bocce, basketball, rhymic gymnastics and powerlifting.
The university’s director of ancillary services, Bob Hale says there’s a sense of anticipation on campus.
Among the preparations taking place on campus is completion of the bleachers at Oland Stadium and the installtion of new lockers in the dressing rooms.
A hotly contested basketball game took place on Friday at Dr. JH Gillis that was put on by a program called Unified Sports. The program through Special Olympics supports an increase in physical activity for all participants and provides students of varying abilities a chance to play basketball.
Beth MacDonald says the students from both Dr. JH Gillis and SAERC put forward a lot of effort to make the day possible:
Jersey’s were provided to all players, which were donated by Special Olympics. Members from both teams expressed how enjoyable to day was and they look forward to trying other sports in the future.
Special Olympics officials from the across the country are in Antigonish this week. They are in town as Antigonish prepares to host the Special Olympics Canada
Three local athletes that will be competing in the 2018 Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games; Kristina Richard (left), Ryan Kearney (center), and Hannah Deon (right).
National Summer Games next year.
Chefs de Mission, the heads of delegations for all provincial and territorial teams that will come to Antigonish next year met and toured all the venues on Tuesday. Meetings of Special Olympics leadership staff from across the country began Wednesday and continue Thursday.
The President and CEO of Special Olympics Canada, Sharon Bollenbach, says the delegations are impressed with the venues.
Nine sports will be featured at the games; track and field, basketball, bocce, golf, rhythmic gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer, softball and swimming. The Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games will be from July 31st to August 4th, 2018
An initiative by the Sobeys grocery store chain with Special Olympics Canada is moving into high gear. The Stellarton-based company is providing increased access to nutrition education to Special Olympians
The director of community investment with Sobeys, Renee Hopfner, says Sobeys employees across the country have been trained. In Nova Scotia, employees will deliver nutrition sessions in Dartmouth and Stellarton to coaches and athletes starting this fall.
Hopfner says in ongoing discussions with Special Olympics, nutrition education is a key area with its athletes.
During Special Olympics provincial summer games across country this year, Sobeys provided food and healthy snacks to volunteers, coaches and athletes.
A local athlete has received a provincial honour. Kristina Richard has been named the Special Olympics Nova Scotia Female Athlete of the Year. Richard, a member of the Eastern Highlands team, has been competing in the sport of Athletics for eight years. Over that time she has become one of the best all-around athletes in the province.
She competes annually at the Special Olympics provincial summer games. She was also part of Team Nova Scotia at the National Special Olympics Games in Vancouver in 2014, picking up one Gold, three Silver and one Bronze Medal.
Richard was presented the award at an annual gala last night in Halifax