Keegan Waite was very excited upon receiving the news that he had been named to the Special Olympics Team Canada 2023 Training Squad! Finding out ahead of the official announcement, Keegan knew he had to keep the news pretty close to the chest. Keegan was able to share the news with his grandmother, who created their own private celebration, raising a banner to surprise Keegan when he got home from work that read "Special Olympics Berlin 2023".
Keegan has been involved with Special Olympics PEI for 8 years. He started playing basketball in elementary school after attending a Steve Nash youth camp. Having played on his junior high team, Keegan was eager to join when the Special Olympics Summerside basketball program began 6 years ago. The Special Olympics Nova Scotia Summer Games was Keegan's first time competing off-Island in the sport of basketball. Reflecting on the Games, Keegan said he was just happy to playing basketball again, and that the Gold medal was an added bonus. Keegan was not even aware that the Games were a qualifier for World Games.
In preparation for the Games, Keegan is supported by local training coach, Allan Gillis. Allan has been coaching the Special Olympics basketball program in Summerside for the last 6 years, and was a member of the coaching staff at the Special Olympics Nova Scotia Summer Games. Keegan speaks very highly of Allan, saying he is a "terrific coach". Keegan highlights Allan's willingness to get all players involved, and placing his trust in his players, as some of his best qualities.
When Allan first became aware of the possibility of one of his basketball athletes having the opportunity to represent Canada at a World Games he was motivated as a coach. Allan is excited for Keegan, recognizing the amount of work Keegan has put in to get to this point.
With the cancelation of the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games 2022, due to COVID-19, team sports for the 2023 World Games look a bit different. Keegan joins a pan-Canadian teams, with athletes from across the country. The recent Team Canada Training Camp was the first opportunity that the team had to not only meet, but train together. Keegan remains thankful to this Special Olympics PEI teammates who he credits in helping to make this opportunity possible.
Looking ahead to the Special Olympics World Games, Keegan is most excited about the opportunity to travel outside the country for the first time, and to playing basketball too.