Special Olympics Quesnel held its portion of a virtual track meet on Sept. 2. It was the organization’s first competition during the pandemic. (Special Olympics Quesnel - Facebook)

Special Olympics Quesnel sprints past COVID-19 challenges

Athletes from the area competed in a virtual track meet, sharing times with clubs across B.C.

After a summer of patience, Quesnel Special Olympics was able to get back on track.

The club participated in a virtual athletics meet on Sept. 2, with athletes logging times to share across the region.

Rick Prosk is the program co-ordinator and head coach for track and field for Quesnel Special Olympics. He said the organization has taken a very cautious approach to returning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The reasoning behind that is [Special Olympics BC] don’t want to move ahead too quickly and have to shut things down,” he said. “Not just for Special Olympics, but the public at large. In Special Olympics’ case, it’s going to be a very slow process.”

Athletics in Quesnel was run as a pilot program, used as a potential example for other clubs across the province.

“We ran those events as if they were track events at a track meet, with official times recorded, official distances for long jump,” Prosk said. “Then we submitted those times to the provincial office who compiled the results.”

Demand was so high, Quesnel started a second track and field group running on a separate day. COVID-19 restrictions mean the groups cannot share coaches, staff or equipment.

A return to some form of competition, even if it was virtual, was welcomed by the athletes.

“Special Olympics is a competitive sport organization — we’re not just there to train athletes; we’re here to support them in competition,” Prosk said. “We have to find some way of staging competitions given the reality that we have.”

National and provincial competitions that were set to take place in the summer of 2021 have already been cancelled.

With a lack of competitions to prepare for, Prosk has adjusted his coaching and training techniques, focusing on skill development and individual achievement.

He’s been forced to get creative to create the right atmosphere, including mini-competitions in training to some success. He said a long jump competition he structured like a high jump meet, with athletes shooting for a target distance, led some athletes to crush past personal bests.

“I coach pretty much year-round,” Prosk said. “To have those months off, where I wasn’t involved in any coaching and had little to do with Special Olympics — I missed it. It’s great to be back.”

Prosk said Special Olympics Quesnel can run a golf program this fall as well.

Other winter sports are in a pilot phase across the province, but Prosk hopes to see a return soon.

READ MORE: B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

READ MORE: Raffle raises $18,000 for Special Olympics

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


@GimliJetsMan
cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Special Olympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No reported COVID-19 transmission in B.C.’s tree planting spring/summer effort

With the fall season winding up mid-October, it is hoped that trend will continue

LETTER: West Quesnel apartment building tenant thanks everyone who helped after fire

Scott Jones is one of the tenants who was evacuated after a Sept. 12 fire

Northern Development launches new community development programs

The new programs are part of the launch of Trust 2020

Quesnel Lions Club’s fundraising takes pandemic hit

Club president Brent Oxenbury says their annual fundraising draw sales are drastically down in 2020

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Most Read