A trip up the Coquihalla Highway to Vernon proved fruitful for many Surrey and White Rock athletes last week, after a strong medal haul at the BC 55+ Games.
On the bocce court, White Rock’s Zefferino Baldonero and Lino Bragagnolo teamed with Surrey’s Florindo Scremin to win gold in the men’s 55-plus event, while the Surrey tandem of Arnalda Benetti and Ines Tonon won gold in the women’s pairs competition.
Tonon also won silver in the women’s 55-plus singles event.
White Rock and Surrey athletes competed on the Zone 3 (Fraser Valley) team at the Games, finishing second overall with 337 total medals. The Okanagan-Similkameen team took top spot, with 370 medals.
In mixed-doubles pickleball, the duo of Gerald Henri and Debbie McRobbie won silver, while McRobbie added a bronze medal as well, in women’s doubles alongside Surrey’s Sheena Brewer. Rick Houghton won gold in men’s singles, and Ross Priebe won bronze.
A pair of medals were won in tennis, too – Floyd Stanley placed second in men’s 75-79 singles, while Lori Ishikawa won bronze in women’s 55-59 singles.
A slo-pitch softball team, called the Hot Shots, also finished on the podium, with silver medals.
One of the Games’ most decorated athletes was White Rock’s David Ulis, who won six medals in the track-and-field competition. Competing in the mens’ 65-69 age division, Ulis won gold in javelin, silver in high jump, long jump, hammer throw and throws (pentathlon), as well as bronze in discus.
Surrey’s Mohan Bains also excelled in track and field, winning gold in the men’s 65-69 shotput, hammer throw and weight throw, while adding a throws (pentathlon) bronze. Hardev Sandhu won silver in the same weight throw event, and Larry Johnston finished with two bronze medals – in triple jump and javelin. Sandhu also won silver in 300m hurdles and bronze in the 200m.
Bakhshish Dhillon won one gold, two silver and three bronze medals in throwing events – discus, shotput, javelin and weight throw – while Cindy O’Brien-Hugh won three golds, in long jump, high jump and 50m, as well as three silvers, in 100, 200 and 400m. Sheila Allison won five silver medals, in 100, 200, 400 and 5,000m, 10km road race and triple jump, and bronze in the 800 and 1,500m; Lynette Baldock won gold in 1,500 and 5,000m, 10km and triple jump, silver in 800m and bronze in the 200 and 400m.
Renate Cheetham stood atop the podium six times, winning gold in womens’ 200, 400, 800, 1,500 and 5,000m races, and also the 1,500m racewalk. Marcel Kosierb won gold in men’s 60-64 discus; Bill McNamara won silver in 50 and 200m and Surinder Shah won silver in 300m hurdles.
Swimmers also shone at the Vernon-hosted event, led by Celia Hill, who won five gold medals and one silver in the pool. Competing in the women’s 60-64 division, Hill finished first in 25m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 50 and 100m freestyle, and the 200m individual medley, while placing second in 100m IM.
In the men’s 85-89 competition, Johan Carstens won gold in both 400 and 800m freestyle events as well as 25m butterfly, and added bronze in the 50m butterfly. while Alida Brichon, in the women’s 75-79 age class, won six gold medals, in backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle events. In men’s 60-64, Ivan Vonic won gold in 100m backstroke and silver in 25m butterfly. Alois Mueller won gold and silver in 25m breaststroke and backstroke, respectively, while also adding a freestyle silver and another breaststroke bronze.
In badminton, Mamie Field won gold in women’s 65-69 singles, while Mike Kupr was fourth in the mens’ 55-59 recreational division.
In cycling, Gerald Baragar won silver in the men’s 65-69 recreational-division hill climb, while Leo Le Couteur was second in the men’s 75-79 competitive-division climb.
On the golf course, Marshall Bertram won gold in the mens’ 75-79 division ‘A’, while Faye Stafiej also took top spot on the podium, in women’s 65-69 division ‘B’.
In archery, Surrey’s Gary Kellins won silver in men’s 63-69 longbow, while John Crombach won bronze in recurve.