ANTIGONISH, N.S. – Team P.E.I. is off to a strong start at the 2018 Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games.
Roy Paynter, Kolton Doucette and Teri Cudmore all won medals during the first two days of competition.
Paynter, a Kensington resident, won two gold medals in 50-metre swimming events – freestyle and backstroke – on Wednesday.
“They are our first medals,” beamed P.E.I. chef de mission Matthew McNally in a phone interview with the Journal Pioneer following Day 1. “Roy was pretty hot in the pool!”
Paynter had a final score of 44.41 in the backstroke, and 34.9 in the freestyle. Paynter was disqualified in the 100-metre breaststroke, and his final score was 110.85.
Ellen MacNearney of Montague placed fourth in the 50-metre backstroke with a final score of 50.86. She had a time of 1:52.42 in the 100-metre backstroke on Thursday.
Doucette, who is from Wellington Station, had a strong opening day in powerlifting as he won four medals on Wednesday. He tied for gold in bench press while earning silver in squat, bronze in deadlift and silver overall.
Doucette registered lifts of 75kg in squat, 70kg in bench and 100kg in deadlift for a total of 245kg.
“He hit all three of his sets for the squat and bench,” said McNally. “We are excited about that.”
P.E.I. picked up another medal on Thursday morning as Teri Cudmore of Charlottetown won a bronze in the standing long jump. Cudmore is scheduled to receive her medal late Thursday afternoon.
“We are so proud of everyone's efforts,” said McNally. “Athletes giving their full potential out on the field of play is very inspiring to watch.
“I am so privileged to be here to support them. The work their coaches have done to prepare them for this moment does not go unrecognized.”
Also in athletics on Day 2, Jeremy Wall of Kensington had a seventh-place finish in the 5,000 metres.
P.E.I.’s four bocce athletes opened competition on Wednesday. Janet Charchuck of Alberton and Jennifer Hickox of Charlottetown are in the same division. Charchuck won the head-to-head matchup 14-0.
Rick Chan and Tommy Ling, both of Charlottetown, dropped their opening games by 15-6 and 12-7 scores.
Phillip Chugg of Stratford carded a 71 in the opening nine-hole golf event.
Chugg was scheduled to be back on the course Thursday.
Rachael Loggie, P.E.I.’s flag-bearer for the opening ceremony, will open competition in rhythmic gymnastics on Friday.
In team sports, P.E.I.’s soccer and softball teams played divisioning games Wednesday.
The soccer club finished with two wins and a tie while the softball squad had two victories and one loss.
“They have been competitive games,” noted McNally. “The games that will determine placings will start Thursday.”
Overall, McNally is delighted with P.E.I.’s start.
“It’s been a very exciting week,” noted McNally. “The energy is carrying us through all this heat we have been getting over here.
“The games committee and the team have been managing to find ways to support the athletes in the extreme heat.”
McNally was also quick to praise the efforts of the hard-working and dedicated athletes.
“We are very proud of them,” emphasized McNally. “They have been given an all-out effort.”