2022 Winter Regional Qualifiers showcased skills and reconnected friends

Curling athlete celebrates with both arms in the air
Celebrating success at the 2022 SOBC Curling Regional Qualifier for Regions 3 & 5!

The return of in-person Special Olympics BC Winter Regional Qualifiers built excitement, nerves, pride, and passion in hardworking athletes all over the province.

Between January and May 2022, SOBC Locals worked hard to host 23 different Regional Qualifier competitions in the eight SOBC winter sports. These events gave hundreds of athletes the opportunity to qualify for spots in the 2023 Special Olympics BC Winter Games coming to Kamloops next winter.

2022 Regional Qualifier photos

It was a thrilling return to in-person qualifiers! At the first event of the season, the Speed Skating Regional Qualifier hosted by SOBC – Coquitlam, the atmosphere was electric.

“I was nervous, but when I did it, I was pretty happy with my results at the end,” said SOBC – Surrey athlete Hillary Birkett. “I loved the feeling of being back in person, honestly. It was just how I remember it.” 

“It felt really, really awesome,” SOBC – Dawson Creek athlete Michael Ryder said. “With the racing I did, it was hard to compete against the other competitors, it was pretty hard, but all I had to do was put myself out there and show them I was a representative of Dawson Creek and that’s what I did, I showed what we can do.”

Special Olympics BC athletes are passionate about competing and showing their skills. SOBC – Revelstoke athlete Yorke Parkin loves to race and go fast, and he showed that charging down the slopes in the SOBC Alpine Skiing Regional Qualifier hosted in March at Sasquatch Mountain Resort.

“I love watching him ski,” his mother Bex Parkin said. “He couldn’t walk until he was two, he couldn’t even move at 18 months. To see him go this far and then go to compete and actually do this well, it’s like ‘oh my god.’ His dad and I are very proud.”
Athletes also love to both reconnect and make new friends in competitions.

“It’s a great way to make new friends and just to have fun. I love meeting all the amazing athletes at these races,” SOBC – Burns Lake athlete Danny Tress said before heading to the Snowshoeing Regional Qualifier. 

By the 23rd and final Winter Regional Qualifier of this season, the excitement hadn’t dimmed. At the 5-Pin Bowling Regional Qualifier hosted by SOBC – Vancouver, athlete Nicholas Chan gave the competition two thumbs up.

“It feels really excellent. Bowling is awesome,” he said, and it was easy to tell he was beaming under his mask.

Congratulations to all the athletes who amazed with their dedication to their training and determination to compete! Heartfelt thanks to all the coaches, volunteers, families, and supporters who made these exciting competitions possible!

Get involved in Special Olympics BC's year-round programs to access exciting competition experiences

 

When do we find out who qualified for the 2023 SOBC Winter Games?

This year's Regional Qualifiers ended on May 13. Once all the qualifiers wrapped up, for all Regions, the number of spots given to each Regional team were calculated. These numbers are based on the participation in the Regional Qualifiers.

Each Regional team will soon begin their team roster endorsement process.

Get excited for team announcements later in 2022! 

This process is the same as in years past.

Find the SOBC sport policies on competition selection and endorsement

 

Regional Qualifier media coverage

Athlete Reporters Miranda Orth and David Johnston on the return to in-person sports and competitions

"WITHOUT THE IN-PERSON PROGRAMS, WHEN WE DIDN'T HAVE THEM BECAUSE OF COVID GOING ON, I FELT SORT OF DISAPPOINTED REALLY, BECAUSE IT'S OUR LIFE, IT'S FUN, WE LOVE TO DO IT. WE GO TO COMPETITIONS FOR IT."

Revelstoke Review on young alpine skier Yorke Parkin and his journey

“I love watching him ski,” his mother says. “He couldn’t walk until he was two, he couldn’t even move at 18 months. To see him go this far and then go to compete and actually do this well, it’s like ‘oh my god.’ ”His dad and I are very proud.”

Burns Lake Lakes District News on Danny Tress competing in the SOBC Snowshoeing Regional Qualifier

"It’s a great way to make new friends and just to have fun. I love meeting all the amazing athletes at these races.”

-Athlete Danny Tress

Quesnel Cariboo Observer on the Region 8 5-Pin Regional Qualifier

"Coach Ellen Martz said the athletes who went were 'beyond excited' to get back to competition."

Prince George Citizen on the Curling Regional Qualifier for Regions 7 & 8

"Everybody had a great time reconnecting and getting back into some competition.”

-Coach Fern Russell

The Cranbrook Daily Townsman and Golden Star reported on their local athletes' successes at the SOBC Cross Country Skiing Regional Qualifier

"Golden has been well represented by these hard working and respectful athletes and we should all be proud of them."

Richmond News photos from the Region 4 Floor Hockey Regional Qualifier

 

2022 Winter Regional Qualifiers homepage