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Labrador West Special Olympic athletes to compete at provincial bocce tournament

Labrador West Special Olympic athletes and support staff are headed to central Newfoundland to compete in a provincial bocce ball tournament. From left to right are, coach Joan Hibbs, Christopher Gillam, Jeanette McIssac, Junior Dumaresque, Sharon Manning, Jody Lawrenece, and chef Sandra Gillam.
Labrador West Special Olympic athletes and support staff are headed to central Newfoundland to compete in a provincial bocce ball tournament. From left to right are, coach Joan Hibbs, Christopher Gillam, Jeanette McIssac, Junior Dumaresque, Sharon Manning, Jody Lawrenece, and chef Sandra Gillam. - Contributed photo

Team excited for more than just competition this weekend

LABRADOR CITY, N.L. —

They've been practicing throughout the winter and into the summer, and now members of the Labrador West Big Landers are headed to central Newfoundland for the Special Olympics Bocce Ball Tournament.

All regions of the province will be represented at the games on Sept. 7 and 8.

The Big Landers will be the only team from Labrador and coach Joan Hibbs said members been working hard and they are ready.

Sharon Manning prepares to roll the bocce ball at practice as Jody Lawrence, left, and Christopher Gillam look on.
Sharon Manning prepares to roll the bocce ball at practice as Jody Lawrence, left, and Christopher Gillam look on.

Hibbs said there will be about 40 participants from around the province competing in both individual and team events.

The Big Landers will field two teams of three. They are Junior Dumaresque, Jody Lawrence and Chris Gillam, and Sharon Manning, Jeanette McIaasc and Evan Alexander.

Coach Hibbs said the players have competed in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and hosted a tournament for players from Happy Valley-Goose Bay. This is the first time the group has travelled to the island to compete.

“The athletes have been training in the winter in the AP Low gym,” Hibbs said. “In winter they use a softer ball. After the winter they played when the turf was at the arena, and when the turf was taken up they went outside.”

They’ve been practicing three or four times a week outside, she said.

Hibbs is confident the group will do well at their first provincial Tournament.

“They are competitive but they realize that they are also there for the fun of it.”

Many of the Big Landers teammates have been at the Labrador Winter Games and they realize the tournament is also about the camaraderie.

Hibbs said many of the athletes are anxious to meet old friends they met at other competitions. All of the participants know there are medals up for grabs and they understand there are winners and losers. They want to win but they are more enthusiastic about having fun, she said.

The tournament offers social events, and team members are all looking forward to the closing dance and banquet.

This won’t be their last competition for the season. In October the Lab West players will host teams from Happy Valley-Goose Bay for a regional tournament.

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