Ann Whittles

Floor curlers have gold on their minds

With their sights set on gold, the Prince Rupert floor curling team is preparing for the 55+ BC Games in Coquitlam next week.

With their sights set on gold, the Prince Rupert floor curling team is preparing for the 55+ BC Games in Coquitlam next week.

The team is made up of Ann Whittles, Selma Standring, Sharon Paavola and Margaret Niesh. Aside from Niesh, who is joining them for the first time, the team has been together for seven years.

“We’re going for the gold,” said Whittles. None of this is a new experience for her. She has been going to the Games since 1994, first participating in slo-pitch and then transferring to floor curling, a switch she says she has “enjoyed immensely.”

“It’s about being active. We’re up and we’re out doing stuff rather than just sitting at home,” Whittles said, adding the reason she first started participating was for the activity and she’s also quite competitive.

“I like to win,” she said with a smile.

The group has been on the fringe the last couple of years with fourth-place finishes, but they have gold on their minds this year. The Prince Rupert team won a bronze at the 2012 Burnaby Games and a gold medal at the 2010 Comox Valley and Campbell River Games.

“Everybody has a good chance. We’re about on par with the other teams that are down there,” Paavola said.

For Standring, it’s the camaraderie that she most looks forward to.

“I think I’ve only missed two or three for the last 25 years. I went golfing and won quite a few medals in that and then I switched to bowling and won some medals there and then I went to curling,” she said.

Marion Weir, president of Zone 10, will be trying for a third cribbage medal. She is already the owner of a silver and a bronze, and she’ll be pairing with a man from Terrace for her event.

She’s proud of the preparation her team is doing. Weir said the floor curlers practice adamantly every Wednesday and even extra on occasion.

Dawn Quast, Rupert’s only swimmer, swims every day to prepare, Weir said. She won a bronze in the 400m freestyle last year. Quast will compete in six different events this year.

“There are some very competitive seniors out there,” said Weir. “It’s amazing how well they do.”

Members of the zone fundraised over $25,000 for the five-day event, to help pay for hotel rooms and travel costs.

There will be 18 Prince Rupert residents chasing medals at the Games. Approximately 80 people will participate overall from Zone 10, less than previous years, due to the competitions happening so late in the year, according to Weir.

The zone is made up of members from Haida Gwaii, Kitimat, Nass Valley, Prince Rupert and Terrace. Last year, the zone placed ninth out of 13 zones with 52 medals.

The Games will run from Sept. 20 to 24.