The Sunshine Coast was well represented last weekend in Burnaby at the BC Senior Games, with Coast athletes excelling in the pool, on the track and in the water.
Gibsons Barry Barone won three gold medals in track and field. Barone, who attended his first BC Senior Games two years ago where he won four medals, won gold this time around in the men’s 55 to 59 1,500 metres, gold in the men’s 50 to 59 800 metres and gold in the men’s 55 to 59 5,000 metres.
“It was an amazing weekend where everything seemed to fall into place,” he said. “The first event was the 5,000 metre. I had lots of encouragement from my wife and family, and a lot of cheering and yelling from the members of the Sun-shine Coast swim team. I had a lot of energy from all that support and actually won the race quite comfortably.”
His second event was the 800 metre, which ended in a photo finish.
“I won by seven one-hundredths of a second,” he said. “They brought both of us into the finishing area and showed us the picture of the photo finish. It was so close. I was glad that I won.”
His third event was the 1,500, and Barone again got a huge energy boost from his fellow Coast athletes.
“I felt good and led from start to finish,” he said. “Last year I was working a lot at the mill and didn’t have time to do much training, so I didn’t go. But this year, I was determined to get back to the Games. There is such a great camaraderie between all the athletes. I consider it a privilege to compete against so many amazing athletes. It was great fun, a great event with great organization and fabulous volunteers — a very memorable time for sure.”
The Sunshine Coast swim team added to the medal haul.
“This year we swam in the open air swimming pool at Central Park,” said team spokesperson Bruce McDonald. “The warm-up swims commenced as early as 7:40 a.m. with the air temperature as low as 11 degrees Celsius. The sun canopies that we brought to the meet really came in handy, especially the day we had a torrential downpour.”
The team came away with 45 medals including 26 gold, 11 silver and eight bronze.
The medal breakdown saw eight for Linda Buckingham, seven for McDonald, seven for Sandra Buckingham, six for Siemion Altman, five for Mary Kay Wyman, four for Mary Pinniger, four for Jack Adams, three for Marilyn Adams and one for Lucille Oakey.
“Unexpected injuries and illnesses in the two weeks before the Games saw our team reduced to nine swimmers from 12. The remaining nine, however, put on a stellar performance,” he said.
Pickleball brought out some great performances as well with the team of Art Dew and Lance Sparling winning a bronze medal in men’s doubles.
Dave Marsh and Dave Cudlipp finished fourth in men’s 55 to 59 doubles while Marsh and Karen Renfrew finished sixth in mixed doubles.
On the water, the Dragons in Motion dragon boat team were just inched out in the semifinals. The ladies on the 2012 team, coached by Els Mol and steered by Rudy van Egdom, came from Gibsons to Pender Harbour and paddle with various clubs based at Pender Harbour and Porpoise Bay. They included: Lois Pickard, Marie Sharpe, Izzie Gibson, Beverley Zacharias, Gail Riddell, Darlene Kerfoot, Edna Naylor, Fran Heney, Carol Brophy, Jeanne Hage, Sheila Hartley, Margaret Laycock, Sandra Preston, Carol Page, Sheila Weber, Janey Talbot, Yvonne Nelson and Denise Quarry.
In the darts competitions, Marilyn August won a silver medal in the team 65-plus competition, while Joyce Jackson won silver in the 55 to 64 team competition.
John Chartrand won silver in the men’s 55 to 64 singles competition.
On the ice, Eric Lush of Halfmoon Bay was part of the Ancient Mariners men’s 65-plus bronze medal-winning hockey team while Harry Braun and Bob Mallette of Sechelt finished fourth playing for the Old Puckers men’s 70-plus hockey team.
Finally on the slo-pitch diamond, Carolyne Oughton of Roberts Creek was part of the bronze medal-winning women’s 55 to 59 team.
The Lower Mainland team, which included the Sunshine Coast, finished first overall in the medal standings with 433 total medals (220 gold, 121 silver and 92 bronze).