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Gold medal effort in Antigonish

Dana Furlotte was one of the Antigonish competitors in Nova Scotia 55+ Games darts. Corey LeBlanc
Dana Furlotte was one of the Antigonish competitors in Nova Scotia 55+ Games darts. Corey LeBlanc - Corey LeBlanc

Organizers, athletes pleased with Nova Scotia 55+ Games

ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

The legacy for the 2019 Nova Scotia 55+ Games in Antigonish is a positive one.    

The event, from Aug. 1 to 3, included more than 700 competitors from across the province.    

“Everything was fantastic. We had nothing but positive comments and there were no glitches. We are very pleased,” Games’ co-chair Vaughan Chisholm said, a couple days after the festivities wrapped up.    

Chisholm, a councillor with the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, co-chaired the Games with Town of Antigonish councillor Diane Roberts.    

“The event went over so well and the town and county are so proud to have been able to organize this event together and we are so happy with how the event turned out,” Roberts said.   

“We got to meet so many new faces during the Games from every corner of the province and they all brought an infectious spirit that was seen in every activity that took place.”    

Rob Dunphy puts the Antigonish Old Dogs on top in their Nova Scotia 55+ Games men’s hockey game versus the Predators, at the Antigonish Arena Aug. 2. Richard MacKenzie
Rob Dunphy puts the Antigonish Old Dogs on top in their Nova Scotia 55+ Games men’s hockey game versus the Predators, at the Antigonish Arena Aug. 2. Richard MacKenzie

The co-chairs described the effort of volunteers, marshals, medics and officials as “top notch.”     

“They made everything run so smoothly,” Roberts said.    

Chisholm added “we had a wonderful group.”    

“The co-chairs get all the credit,” he said, with a laugh, “but we had a great team that worked so well together.”    

Chisholm added the Games’ organizing committee did “an excellent job.”    

The elected officials also praised the contributions of local businesses and residents, including monies, prizes and gifts.    

Volunteers were a key to the success of the Nova Scotia 55+ Games in Antigonish. Corey LeBlanc
Volunteers were a key to the success of the Nova Scotia 55+ Games in Antigonish. Corey LeBlanc

“Our community sponsors really stepped up to the plate to help us host the best event possible,” Roberts said.    

They agreed the influx of people also provided a great boost to restaurants and other businesses.    

“It was a busy three days, so they were pleased,” Chisholm said.

‘A lot of fun’    

The Games included competition in everything from darts and Scrabble to softball and tennis.    

“We had a great time,” Jeannette Brosha said.    

She teamed up with Evelyn Benoit, Darlene Hart, Janice Ross and Sharon Gillis in bowling at Pins Bowling Centre.    

“The competition level was very high,” she noted    

Mike Hinchey said the same about pickle ball, which took place at St. F.X.’s Keating Centre – the main ice surface converted to courts for the fast-paced and growing racquet sport.   

“Everything went incredibly smoothly,” the player said, crediting Ian MacDonald who led the organization and running of the tournament, along with many volunteers, for their efforts.

Richard Marchand and Dave Kearney teamed up for men's doubles in pickle ball during the Nova Scotia 55+ Games. Richard MacKenzie
Richard Marchand and Dave Kearney teamed up for men's doubles in pickle ball during the Nova Scotia 55+ Games. Richard MacKenzie

   

“There were some amazing comments,” Hinchey added.    

On the court, Hinchey said players from the Antigonish area achieved great results, considering the sport has only taken root here over the past 18 months or so.    

“There has been great improvement in a short period of time,” he added.

‘Blown away’    

When it comes to feedback from visiting participants, Brosha said “we heard a lot of positive things.”    

“Everyone kept talking about the volunteers, the welcome they received and the facilities,” Hinchey said.    

He added “they were blown away.”    

Hinchey noted there was a tremendously positive reaction to the proximity of everything, something akin to the viewpoint provided last summer by athletes and visitors to the Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games.    

“I met a women at the Townhouse [Brewpub and Eatery], who had two medals around her neck,” he said, noting she won one apiece in pickle ball and shot put.    

Hinchey asked how she competed in both events, considering they were running at the same time.    

Coline MacEachern of Port Hood competing in a track event at the Nova Scotia 55+ Games, which took place in Antigonish Aug. 1 to 3. Richard MacKenzie
Coline MacEachern of Port Hood competing in a track event at the Nova Scotia 55+ Games, which took place in Antigonish Aug. 1 to 3. Richard MacKenzie

“She said she would finish her pickle ball game and then run across campus to compete in the shot put,” he added, an illustration of the benefit of that closeness.    

Regina Tate, a participant and organizing committee member, said people “loved the venue,” with most competition taking place on and around the St. F.X. campus.       

“It meant that participants were able to connect easily,” she said.    

Although competition is a major part of the Games, Tate noted, the “social aspect” is as important.    

“The venue certainly contributed to the spirit of friendly interaction among the participants.”    

Tate said she “thoroughly enjoyed” the Games.       

“I believe they were a great success.  I heard only positive comments from the participants,” she added.    

Tate noted they were pleased with how well they were organized.    

“It was also great to see so many local people taking part in the Games,” she said.    

Tate believes Antigonish “did itself proud.”

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