Local athlete will have place in Special Olympics opening ceremonies

Community Featured Sports

ANTIGONISH – For the first time in 24 years, Nova Scotia will play host to the Special Olympics National Games.

Held at St. Francis Xavier (STFX) University, 111 Team Nova Scotia athletes will come together from across the province to compete in nine sports from July 31  to August 4.
Comprised of 14 regions, 111 athletes, and 44 coaches and staff, Team Nova Scotia will
be participating in Athletics, Basketball, Bocce, Golf, Powerlifting, Rhythmic Gymnastics,
Soccer, Softball and Swimming. Athletes from communities such as Yarmouth,
Lunenburg Queens, Clare, HRM, Cape Breton, Truro, Kings, Amherst and Pictou County.

Athletes competing in the 2018 National Games will have the chance to move on to the 2019 World Games in Abu Dhabi.

Two Nova Scotia athletes – Ryan Kearney, Stacey Saunders – and one coach, Joanne
Doirion have been chosen to do the honour of carrying the flag, as well as reciting the
athlete’ s and coach’ s oath in the Opening Ceremonies.

“Ryan Kearney, a long-time athlete for the Eastern Highland Region, is not a new-comer to the National Stage having attended two events prior to these games being hosted in his region. When asked to select an athlete to carry the flag for Team Nova Scotia, we thought it should be an athlete from the Eastern Highland Area and Ryan was the first name that came to mind. His friendly nature, sense of humour and pride for his region and province are all
things that will make him a crowd favorite to carry the flag,” says Cathy Mason, Chef de
Mission for Team Nova Scotia.

When asked about the other two selections Mason stated, “Stacey Saunders has been
involved in Special Olympics for 10 years and this will be her first National Games. I have
seen Stacey recite the Athletes Oath on several occasions and she recites it with such
confidence and pride that this made her a natural choice. Since selected to Team Nova
Scotia, Stacey has committed to her training and has adapted a healthier lifestyle. Her
new confidence in training has led to a greater self-confidence which translates well
into the athlete oath.”

She noted, “Joanne Doirion is a veteran athletics coach for Eastern Highlands and has also
attended several National Competitions. Joanne embodies that true ethics
and morality we expect from our coaches and is proud to say that she does the
best she possibly can for the good of the athletes. Having her recite the Oath
in her home community on the National Stage will be a great honour.”