Cochrane’s senior athletes are showing plenty of sporting prowess – for proof, look no further than their performances at the 2019 Alberta 55-Plus Summer Games, held July 4 to 7 in Medicine Hat.
As representatives of Zone 2 (or Big Country), the town sent more than 20 athletes to Medicine Hat, with 10 bringing back medals.
“Everybody was quite happy – how well you do is sort of secondary, but [winning medals] always increases the spirit among the zones,” said Cochranite Doug Campbell, who earned bronze in the floor shuffleboard competition in the 70-plus age category, along with Dan Stuehrenberg.
“I can’t go back far enough to confirm this was a record turnout, but it was certainly one of the best years. In terms of players, we had 110 [from Zone 2].”
Gold-medal winners from Cochrane include Frank Hutchins, Ian Woodworth, James Roberts and Paulette McKinnon. Hutchins won gold in the 65-plus golf tournament, Woodworth took the top spot in the 60-plus road cycling trials, Roberts won the 75-plus javelin throw – to complement his third-place finish in the shot put – and McKinnon brought home the gold medal in the discus.
McKinnon demonstrated her versatility by medalling in three other events – she earned silver in the 50-metre run and the javelin, and bronze in the shot put.
Cochrane’s silver-medalists included golfer Karl Gibbie in the 85-plus age category, and the foursome of Dean Pederson, Glen Skrabek, Greg Martin and Reg MacDonald, who were members of the Zone 2 slo-pitch team.
Along with Campbell, Stuehrenberg, McKinnon and Roberts, another Cochranite who took home a bronze medal was golfer Alicia Brooks – she finished third in the 65-plus age category.
Campbell, who is also the Area 7 director for the Big Country zone, said a highlight for him was how smoothly the games went, from an organizational standpoint. The event featured more than 1,000 participants from across the province, competing in 16 different sports.
“When you have 1,000 seniors at any event, it can be a bit overwhelming, so it was certainly a success,” he said. “The meals were all good, the opening and closing ceremonies went really well, we had quite good officials and volunteers at each of the 16 different centres.”
Though the National 55-Plus Summer Games will not be held this summer, Campbell said the tournament in Medicine Hat still acts as one of the qualifiers for the next national games, which will take place in Kamloops in August 2020.
“We hope to send a full [cohort] of athletes in every sport that Kamloops will offer,” he said.