Weather hic­cup im­pacts Sum­mer Games sched­ule

The Southwest Booster - - Front Page - SCOTT AN­DER­SON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

Mother Na­ture de­cided to throw the big­gest ob­sta­cle into a rel­a­tively smooth run­ning first half of the 2019 Western Canada Sum­mer Games.

The first half sports wrapped up on Tues­day, with over 300 medals al­ready pre­sented dur­ing the first five days of the Au­gust 9 to 18 com­pe­ti­tion

“We’ve been hav­ing a great start to the Games so far,” Sport Co-chair Mor­gan Mont­gomery said dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at the In­no­va­tion Credit Union iplex on Mon­day morn­ing. “We have a few days un­der our belt for quite a few sports and things seem to be go­ing well.”

And with 1,700 ath­letes com­pet­ing in 16 sports at 13 venues dur­ing the 10 day event, some in­di­vid­ual achieve­ments have al­ready made an im­pact on or­ga­niz­ers.

“We’ve had a lot great mo­ments that have taken place so far,” Mont­gomery ad­mit­ted.

“Last night (Sun­day) at the iplex, the basketball game that took place (Saskatchew­an ver­sus Man­i­toba) was fan­tas­tic. Some of the kids have made com­ments that it feels like play­ing in Madi­son Square Gar­dens, or their ver­sion of it.”

Nu­navut made their beach vol­ley­ball de­but at the Games in Swift Cur­rent, with the mens’ team win­ning their first ever games over two teams from the Yukon, while the women’s team col­lected their first ever game vic­tory as well.

“They were re­ally thrilled. It’s been great to see some of those mo­ments take place.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, at the Ca­noe/kayak venue at Lac Pel­letier, 11-year-old Man­i­toba ath­lete Wil­liam Win­toniw helped Man­i­toba col­lect a bronze medal in the C4 500 me­tre fi­nal.

“What a great ex­pe­ri­ence for him,” Mont­gomery said. “We were talk­ing to him in the (Ath­lete’s) Vil­lage last night and he’s just beam­ing with pride.”

At­ten­dance has been re­port­edly strong for all events over the start of the Games.

“We’re re­ally thrilled with the at­ten­dance,” Mont­gomery ad­mit­ted, point­ing out there were 800 fans at a soft­ball game, beach vol­ley­ball has en­joyed a rock­ing crowd for each game, plus soc­cer has also en­joyed bois­ter­ous fans.

Phase one pre-pur­chased wrist­bands were phys­i­cally sold out, so they had to se­cure a new sup­ply of wrist­bands to meet the strong de­mand. They pointed out they have not been in dan­ger of sell­ing out any venue.

“We’re just happy to see the com­mu­nity re­ally in­volved in our Games,” Sport Cochairs Denise Levor­son said.

Rain on Mon­day did re­sult in an ar­ray of can­cel­la­tions and reschedul­ing.

Soc­cer games on Mon­day were re­lo­cated to the SCCHS field, which was a back-up venue put into ser­vice when soak­ing rains made field con­di­tions un­playable. How­ever the medal round games on Tues­day re­turned to their usual venues.

Ca­noe and kayak events and soft­ball games were can­celled be­cause of poor weather on Mon­day but re­sumed to wrap up on Tues­day.

The High­land Coulee Trails Moun­tain Bike course was un­us­able fol­low­ing Mon­day’s heavy rain, so vol­un­teers worked to pre­pare an im­promptu course that al­lowed the ath­letes to com­plete the moun­tain bike por­tion of their com­pe­ti­tion on Tues­day.

Sec­ond half ath­letes be­gan show­ing up on Tues­day af­ter­noon, with the sec­ond half of the Games be­gin­ning yes­ter­day.

“Be­sides the weather to­day (Mon­day), things have been go­ing great. The City of Swift Cur­rent and our sur­round­ing ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties that have been in­volved have re­ally jumped on board. So any of the hic­cups or mi­nor things that you see in any sport­ing event, but re­ally the spec­ta­tors and the ath­letes haven’t taken notice. And that’s our big­gest win. We want to make sure that they’re here and en­joy­ing their ex­pe­ri­ence, and we’ve got the rest man­aged from the back,” Mont­gomery said.

Or­ga­niz­ers are also see­ing volunteer num­bers con­tinue to grow as the Games progress.

“As the Games have started and peo­ple are tak­ing in some of the com­pe­ti­tion, they’re want­ing to get in­volved. The UDAC (Uni­form Dis­tri­bu­tion and Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Cen­tre) has ac­tu­ally seen peo­ple com­ing in now that weren’t orig­i­nally signed up and say­ing ‘you know I watched this event, I’d like to get out and help, do you still need some help?’ Ab­so­lutely we’ll take them wher­ever they want to be.”

SCOTT AN­DER­SON/SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

Team Saskatchew­an cy­clist Toni B’yaul­ing won a bronze medal in the Cross Coun­try Moun­tain Bike event on Tues­day dur­ing one of the fi­nal events of the first half of the Games.

STEVEN MAH/SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

Saskatchew­an cap­tain Nammi Nguyen (cen­tre) put home the ty­ing goal dur­ing a 1-1 draw against Man­i­toba to open the 2019 Western Canada Sum­mer Games on Fri­day.

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