BC Seniors Games kicks off
After months of planning, organizers of the 2012 B.C. Seniors Games in Burnaby are raring to go this week.
The annual event’s opening ceremonies take place 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22 at Swangard Stadium, featuring nonagenarian and legendary bandleader Dal Richards as MC.
“It’s free and open to the public and everybody is welcome to attend,” said Darlene Gering, chair of Games.
The Games organizing committee has recruited 2,000 volunteers to help out during the event, which ends Saturday. As of Monday, 3,700 people had registered to compete in 26 different sporting events at 28 sports venues.
All the venues, except for Royal City Curling Club in New Westminster, are in Burnaby and apart from new bocce courts that had to be built at Confederation Park, nothing else had to be constructed from scratch, said Gering as a testament to the “great sports venues in Burnaby.”
The number of participants is higher than last year’s Games in West Kootenay, and is in line with what organizers were expecting for Burnaby.
The Games are expected to generate more than $2 million in economic activity in Burnaby, through everything from hotel stays and restaurant meals to shopping, she said.
“Our mission was to host the most memorable, inclusive and sustainable Games ever and I believe we are going to achieve that.”
That inclusiveness has included tapping into local multicultural communities, such as the Ismaili community, and local high schools during its volunteer recruitment to achieve an “ethnic and age diversity,” she said.
As for sustainability initiatives, Gering noted that all participating athletes and volunteers were supplied with refillable water bottles and water will be provided at event sites to cut the use of disposable plastic water bottles.
Event sites will also have comprehensive recycling programs in place and those in charge of waste management for the organizing committee will be taking steps to measure the Games’ environmental footprint, believed to be a first for the event.
Of course, the stars of the Games are the athletes themselves, who range in age from 55 to 95. Some have been participating for the past 25 years.
Gering cited retired Burnaby teacher Olga Kotelko, now living on the North Shore, as a particularly striking example. At age 93, she’ll be competing in high jump, long jump and triple jump.
“She didn’t start any sport until she was 77. She was a school teacher, single mom with two daughters and now she competes around the world. She looks like she’s about 70, I’ve actually met her, she’s quite amazing ... It’s truly remarkable.”
Gering said all the participants are “very, very inspiring, they’re staying so fit and active in their senior years.”
She encouraged the public to come out and cheer them on. Entry for spectators is free at all events and venues.
Ready for take off
The 25th anniversary edition of the BC Seniors Games is all set for the starter’s pistol Aug. 21-25 when just over 3,600 participants from all parts of the province will compete in 26 events.
And a good time should be had by all. The Burnaby Games’ Mission statement assures it:
“To celebrate 25 years of Seniors sportsmanship by hosting the most memorable, inclusive, sustainable BC Seniors Games ever.”
And it is the aim of the organizing committee “to involve all participants in a fun environment celebrating 25 years, creating lasting memories by exceeding expectations.”
It all begins with registration for participants on Aug. 21 at Bill Copeland Arena followed the next day by the beginning of play. And the good news, all events are free to witness.
A colorful opening ceremonies, including the parade of participants, goes at 7 p.m. sharp on Aug. 22 at Swangard Stadium, site of the athletics competition.
Burnaby Village Museum will provide the backdrop for a participants entertainment night on Aug. 23 while a gala dinner/dance goes on the 24th at Copeland Arena.
Closing ceremonies conclude the Games on Saturday Aug. 25. And then it’s a salute to all the Games’ volunteers with a reception on the 26th, again at Copeland Arena.
Here’s a look at the events and their venues:
Athletics, Swangard Stadium; Archery, Burnaby archery range; Badminton, Burnaby Mountain Secondary, Bocce, Confederation Park; Bridge, Confederation Seniors Centre; Carpet Bowls, Cameron Seniors Centre; Cribbage, Edmonds Seniors Centre; Cycling (Road Race), Barnet Highway; Cycling (Hill Climb), SFU; Cycling Time Trial, Burnaby Velodrome; Darts, Burnaby Firefighters Club; Dragon Boat Racing, Burnaby Lake; Five-Pin Bowling, Old Orchard Bowladrome; Floor Curling, Bonsor Rec Centre; Golf, Riverway/Burnaby Mountain courses; Horseshoes, Central Park pitch; Ice Curling, Royal City Curling Club; Ice Hockey, Burnaby Winter Club/Kensington Arena; Lawn Bowls, Central Park; One-Act Plays, Shadbolt Centre; Pickleball, Burnaby South Secondary; Slo-Pitch, Riverway Sports Complex; Snooker, Bonsor Seniors Centre/Confederation Seniors Centre; Swimming, Central Park pool; Table Tennis, Byrne Creek Secondary; Tennis, Burnaby tennis club; Whist, Edmonds Seniors Centre.
A good time should be had by all.