Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Westlock-area seniors strike for gold

For the Westlock News

Vivian Oko, of Westlock, and Rosa Semenchuk of Sturgeon County (centre), show off the gold medals they won in the 65-plus women’s pickleball event. Next to them (right) are silver medal winners Barb Nibler and Lisa Tevelein of Lethbridge, and bronze medal winners Sandy Richer from Beaverlodge and Gwen Atkinson of Grande Prairie. The Alberta 55-plus Summer Games were held in Strathmore July 16-19. Supplied
A pair of local seniors combined for five gold medals at the Alberta 55-plus Summer Games held July 16-19 in Strathmore.

Westlock’s Valerie Oko won gold in the women’s 65-plus pickleball event, alongside teammate Rosa Semenchuk of Sturgeon County.

“We had a real good time and we were pleased with the way we played,” said Oko, “We were quite surprised that we did so well.”

The gold medal means that Oko has now qualified for the Canada 55-plus Games in Brampton, ON, next year. She had previously won the bronze medal at the Canada Games in 2014 when it was held in Strathcona.

“It’s something we can play all summer and winter,” said Oko, who has been playing pickleball since 2012. She has been competing in the Games since 2007 in a variety of sports like bocce and cycling and previously won gold with her bocce team in 2011.

Oko wasn’t the only resident who brought home medals
Also making waves in Strathmore was Valerie Seatter of Dapp, who took home four gold medals in the 60-plus 50 metre women’s breaststroke, the 60-plus 100 metre women’s freestyle, the 60-plus 50 metre women’s freestyle and the 60-plus 75 metre women’s individual medley.

George Wilson, of Westlock, came home with a bronze in the 55-plus men’s time predicted cycling event.

Dennis Allen, the director for Alberta Sport Connection, was pleased with how the weekend turned out.

This year’s Games featured 1,200 participants spread across 17 sport and cultural events. As well, there were 700 volunteers who gave their time during the three-day event.

“The organizers did a great job,” said Allen. “It was a time for participants to shine.”

The next 55-plus Games will be held in 2017. In 2013, Westlock and Barrhead co-hosted the 55-plus Summer Games.

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