Planning Now Underway to Host Disability Games

Published Friday, June 20, 2008

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are hosting the B.C. Disability Games in the summer of 2009. The Abilities column will spotlight an athlete and sport each month leading up to the games, which will be held next summer from July 22 to 26.

The B.C. Disability Games started in 1968 and are the oldest set of games within the B.C. Games system. The motto of the games is “Abilities in Action”. There are many adaptive sports programs offered throughout B.C. by Provincial Sport Organizations such as SportAbility, B.C. Deaf Sports, B.C. Blind Sports, B.C. Amputee Sports, and B.C. Therapeutic Riding.

The 2007 B.C. Disability Games were held in Powell River and had 137 athletes in eight core sports: Athletics (Track and Field), Boccia, Lawn Bowling, Equestrian, Five Pin Bowling, Goalball, Golf, and the Obstacle Course . In addition to the core sports there were two demonstration sports in Powell River: Kayaking and Archery. The age of the athletes range from teens to nineties, and the skill levels range from recreational players to paralympians.

Sport officials and athletes have mentioned that they hope to have a higher amount of athletes at the 2009 Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows B.C. Disability Games as the location, and transportation, will be easier for some athletes. In addition to higher numbers there is interest in the games from sports that did not participate in the Powell River Games, such as power soccer, the only sport specifically for persons in power wheelchairs.

Madeleine Anderson, vice-chair of B.C. Amputee Sports, says that “an overwhelming majority of our athletes will agree that the B.C. Disability Games are a wonderful venue for athletic competition with several pluses.”  The pluses of the B.C. Disability Games include the networking of athletes, comparisons of training techniques, and “a terrific opportunity to meet with other like amputees from around the province and compete as equals”.

Anderson also states that “the number of competitive amputee athletes in the whole province are relatively small, therefore, the opportunity to compete in a hosted and well organized set of games is very important.”  Members of other Provincial Sport Organizations mirror Anderson’s belief that the B.C. Disability Games offer a unique opportunity for athletes from adaptive sports across B.C. to come together. Athletes also state that the chance to meet other athletes, compete with them, learn from them, and grow from the competition level and experience of the games is invaluable.

In addition to offering athletes from across B.C. the chance to compete B.C. Disability Sports believes in creating legacies from the games in the host community. Jane Samletzki, executive director of B.C. Disability Sports, explains that “various legacies develop from hosting this multi-sport event; training for volunteers and minor officials, improved facilities and venues, as well as a financial legacy to be used specifically to improve sport opportunities for persons with a disability.”

The 2007 B.C. Disability Games in Powell River were a success that was enjoyed by athletes, officials, special guests, volunteers, and residents alike. Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows looks forward to creating another positive Games experience for all involved.

The Board of Directors for the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows 2009 B.C. Disability Games have just been appointed and will be visiting the B.C. Summer Games in Kelowna next month to gather information on the operations of the games.

The games will require local volunteers and The Times will keep readers posted as the organization of the games progresses.

Citizens for Accessible Neighbourhoods will also have updates on the progress of the games at