Amherst sending athletes to Halifax in June
Special Olympians prepare for Summer Games
By Dave Mathieson
Amherst Daily News
AMHERST?- There is no rest for Amherst's Special Olympians.
After a winter spent training for and attending many floor hockey tournaments the athletes took a short break and have begun preparing for the Provincial Summer Games on June 13 to 15 at Saint Mary's University in Halifax.
"They train for 10 months a year," regional co-ordinator Martha Saunders said. "In the fall they prepare for the winter games, which is usually floor hockey, and in the spring they prepare for the summer games,"
Right now, the athletes train at the Rotary Field two days a week - Sunday afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. and Wednesday nights from 6 to 8 p.m.
The athletes train in three different fields of endeavor - soccer, athletics and masters.
"In athletics they compete in the shot put, the standing broad jump, the running long jump and the races," Saunders said. "The races are in the 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m."
The masters division consists of bocce, horseshoes and the 400m walk.
No matter what contest the athletes enter they always make sure they have fun.
"They have a great time," Saunders said.
This year's provincial summer games are being held earlier than in previous years, giving the athletes less time to prepare.
"They are usually in July but this year they're in June," Saunders said.
The reason for the change was the availability of venues.
"There were only two available dates at Dalhousie and St. Mary's," Saunders said. "The other date was in late July and they thought that was too late."
All together 800 athletes and coaches are expected to attend this year's games.
The soccer games will be held at the soccer field in Clayton Park.