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Northwest athletes have big haul at 55+ B.C. Games in Kelowna

Prince Rupert’s Ann Marie Vandermeer tops the podium five different times in swimming
Anne Marie Vandermeer from Prince Rupert collects one of her five gold medals after posting the top time in the 50-m freestyle. Ruth Lau Siemers (Silver - Burnaby) and Sharen Popoff (Bronze - Creston) rounded out the podium. (Kelly Pape photo)

Gold medals came home to Prince Rupert in waves last month, courtesy of Ann Marie Vandermeer’s powerful performances in the swimming pool at the 55+ B.C. Games.

Kelowna was the setting for the annual event, which saw thousands of athletes from around the province compete in 33 different sports. The Northwest zone, consisting of Prince Rupert, Terrace, Kitimat and Haida Gwaii, had a strong showing for its size, grabbing 12 gold medals, 15 silver and 16 bronze. Prince Rupert earned its share of the zone medal count, accounting for five gold, five silver and seven bronze. Masset meanwhile has a pair of bronze medals to its name following the games.

Vandermeer was the main source of Prince Rupert’s medal haul, taking home five golds and a silver for her efforts in the women’s swimming 55-59 category. She was top of the podium in the 50-m backstroke (41.92), 50-m freestyle (36.81), 25-m backstroke (20.19), 25-m butterfly (17.22) and 25-m freestyle (16.59), while also earning a silver by completing the 100-m individual medley in 1:33.41.

Athletes dive into the pool during 55+ B.C. Games competition in Kelowna in September. (Kelly Pape photo)

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Staying in the pool, Dawn Quast swam to a silver medal finish in the women’s 70-74 category in the 100-m individual medley with a time of 2:44.23. Quast brought home two more medals, a pair of bronzes for finishes in the 400-m freestyle (9:42.59) and the 800-m freestyle (19:34.80).

Sharon Paavola was the other Rupert swimmer to earn herself some hardware doing laps, swimming to a trio of third place finishes. Her times in the women’s 75-79 category in the 100-m breaststroke (3:45.96), 100-m freestyle (2:22.29) and 25-m breaststroke (40.56) saw three more bronzes added to Prince Rupert’s total.

There was plenty of success back on dry land for Rupert as well, notably on the badminton court where Steve Weir smashed his way to two silvers and a bronze. One of these came in the men’s 55-59 singles category, while Weir’s other silver was won with partner Sandra Reeves from Duncan in the mixed doubles competition. It was a third place finish for Weir in men’s doubles, along with partner John Hong from Oliver.

Badminton also proved a popular and competitive sport at the 55+ B.C. Games. (Kelly Pape photo)

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Jim Martin was on target to lock in on a bronze medal in the men’s archery 63-69 target-longbow category, with a score of 520. Harvey Calder and Robert Currie rounded out the Rupert medal winners with their second place finish in the men and women carpet bowling 55+ one pair.

On Haida Gwaii, the hot hitting Masset duo of Kevin Brown and Garry Otto shot their way to bronze medals on the tennis courts. The pair took home bronze together in the men’s 55-59 doubles tournament, while Brown earned another bronze for his play with Chilliwack’s Jennifer Ware in the men and women 55-59 mixed doubles event.

Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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