February 13, 2019 9:52 pm
Updated: February 13, 2019 10:19 pm

Vernon set to welcome hundreds of athletes for the Special Olympics BC Winter Games

Watch: Vernon athlete looking forward to competing at his first provincial games.

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Hundreds of athletes are getting ready to converge in Vernon for the Special Olympics BC Winter Games.

Thanks to the recent snowfall, organizers are feeling confident they are ready for the large-scale event.

At the games, athletes with intellectual disabilities from around the province will compete for a chance to represent British Columbia at the national games.

The competition is getting a lot of support from the local community.

READ MORE: Special Olympians team up with local athletes for Kelowna fundraiser

More than 900 people have signed up to volunteer at the event, more than the organizers had originally hoped for.

Around 600 competitors are expected in a variety of sports, ranging from bowling to figure skating.

WATCH: Lethbridge figure skater’s golden moment


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“There is athlete representation from all over the province and we are also welcoming Alberta athletes in,” said organizing committee chair Glenn Benischek. “Because of a lack of snow, their Winter Special Olympics didn’t go off fully, so we are inviting some athletes from Alberta to join us.”

READ MORE: 2019 Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games to be held in Vernon

Thanks to some recent help from Mother Nature, though, the B.C. games won’t have the same problem.

“We were a little worried,” Benischek said.

“[There was] not a lot of snow and a lot of cold weather. Of course, for the athletes when it is -25 it makes it very difficult to compete. We are pleased to see the forecast. We’ve got some snow and we should be warming up to more normal winter conditions.”

Now all that is left is getting fans in the stands.

WATCH: Understanding the importance of inclusion through Special Olympics

Organizers are hoping the public will come out to Kal Tire Place to watch the opening ceremonies on Thursday February 21 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. and the sporting events held around the community on February 22 and 23.

More information about the schedule can be found here.

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