Kelowna hosting 55-plus B.C. Games this week

They’re off and running, biking, curling, bowling, swimming and aiming at the 55-plus B.C. Games.

Athletes from around the province have gathered in Kelowna for the five-day event, Sept. 10-14. Action got underway Wednesday morning and wraps up Saturday afternoon with the closing ceremony.

Organizers are expecting approximately 4,000 athletes and support staff.

Darts are among the 33 sports at this week’s 55-plus B.C. Games in Kelowna.

The opening ceremony is slated for 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Prospera Place.

Overall, there are 33 sports, including pool (8-ball and snooker), archery, bocce, bridge, carpet bowling, darts, dragon boating, bowling, golf, hockey, horseshoes, curling, mountain biking, swimming, triathlon, squash and trap shooting.

Events are spread across the Central Okanagan. Memorial Arena in downtown Kelowna, for example, is hosting table tennis, while the Westside Seniors Citizens Activity Centre in West Kelowna is home to floor curling with horseshoes taking place at the Winfield Horseshoes Club.

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“It’s fun,” table tennis athlete Caroline Bauer of Kelowna said of competing in the 55-plus B.C. Games. “It’s not so much about winning; it’s meeting other people and the competition and everything about it.”

“Fun is the main thing and encouraging senior participation,” added Arthur Lo, Bauer’s table tennis partner.

At the Apple Bowl, site of track and field events, runner David Guss of Kelowna said “it’s great to have [the 55-plus B.C. Games] in my hometown. I have lots of experience running on this specific track, so I guess I have home-track advantage, which is nice.”

On Wednesday, Guss said he set a new Games record in the 5,000 metres, clocking in at 16 minutes and 46 seconds, eclipsing the old mark of 16:52 by six seconds.

“It feels great,” Guss said of breaking the record. “Earlier this year, I ran a 5,000 on this track and broke the Canadian record, but I was running with open men as well. And that helps when you have fast, young guys in front of you to chase after.

“Once in a while I beat them, but they’re usually ahead of me.”

Guss said he’ll also be running in the 400 metres and 1,500 metres.

According to the 55-plus B.C. Games website, “although some sports are more physically active than others, the benefits of friendly competition and striving for a personal best are a constant that all the sports share.”

For more about the 55-plus B.C. Games, including schedules, click here.

“We’re excited that everything is coming together for an excellent games experience,” said David Graham, president of the Kelowna 55-plus B.C. Games Society. “We hope that Kelowna residents will come out and show their support to the local and visiting participants, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.”

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