Paynter earns opportunity to compete at World Games
Freetown’s John Paynter looking forward to competing for Canada at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
There is much more to Special Olympics than just sports for John Paynter of Freetown.
For example, there’s the friendship and camaraderie.
“I have met a lot of new friends through my time with Special Olympics,” said the 42year-old son of Honor Paynter. “Now I’ll be able to meet new friends from all over the world.”
Paynter is in Los Angeles with Team Canada for the Special Olympics World Games from Saturday to Aug. 2. He will begin competition on Sunday.
“He’s been working really hard in the last year,” said Jodi Harper, Paynter’s training coach on P.E.I. “His cardio is good, his fitness is good and he will do well.”
Paynter was selected for Team Canada following a three-medal performance at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games in Vancouver. He won bronze in the 100- and 200metre sprints, and silver in the shot put.
“John is pretty easy going and takes everything as it comes,” said Harper, a Tignish native now residing in Harrington.
Paynter trains mostly at the UPEI track in Charlottetown and Credit Union Place in Summerside. He trains almost every day, and Harper noted his hard work has paid off.
“He’s come a long way,” said Harper. “I was saying to Honor a little while ago I wish I would have taken before and after pictures of when he started this journey for Team Canada.
“His physical fitness has changed quite a bit. He’s been working hard, and I’m proud of him.”
Has there been one area of focus for athlete and coach leading up to Los Angeles?
“The last month we’ve been working hard with both the starts and finishes, and not slowing down until I have passed the finish line,” said Paynter. “We’ve talked about working hard and having fun.”
Paynter is no stranger to Special Olympics, having competed in different programs and almost every sport offered for the last 12 years. He also curls in the winter.
While this marks Paynter’s first World Games, he has worn P.E.I.’s colours in five National Games. Paynter credits his many dedicated coaches during the years for his success.
“Everyone has been fantastic,” emphasized Honor. “He never would have gotten as far as he has without them.”
Along with competing, Paynter is looking forward to enjoying the entire experience that a World Games offers.
“I want to have fun and meet new people,” said Paynter, who is also looking forward to rubbing shoulders with some big-name celebrities and supporters of Special Olympics. “There will be lots of movie stars there, and ‘The Terminator’ (Arnold Schwarzenegger) will be there.”
John Paynter trains on the track inside Credit Union Place’s Eastlink Arena.