It may have been pouring rain in Edmonton Sunday morning, but nothing could dampen the spirits of more than 100 Special Olympics athletes as they competed at the annual provincial track and field qualifiers.

“It’s a great day for a track meet,” joked Charlene Grey, sports coordinator with Special Olympics Edmonton. “Every year we get something different. Sometimes it’s pouring, other times it’s boiling. But rain or shine, these athletes always come out and do a great job.”

Special Olympics athletes from all across Alberta descended on Foote Field Sunday for a wet and soggy track meet – each vying for a spot at the 2017 Provincial Games. Athletes competed in a variety of sports, including running long jump, shot put, standing long jump, and races and relays from 50m to 3000m, and everything in between.

A mini-javelin demonstration was scheduled as well, but the rain put an end to that. The sport is being held for the first time at the 2017 Provincial Games, and is open to all athletes who wish to participate.

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Regardless of the weather, Grey said the annual track meet always has a great turnout and fierce competition.

“This is the only track and field qualifier held in Alberta this year, so all affiliates intending on having athletes qualify for the provincial games must attend,” she said. “These athletes work really hard to get to where they are, and for a number of them, this is the most important event of the year.”

Colby Rogers, a young Special Olympics athlete who competes in the 50m, long jump, and shot put, said he was having a great time.

“I like Special Olympics because it’s fun and good exercise,” he said. “And I really like the food.”

Over the course of the day athletes showed off their skills and training. In the shot put pit, grunts and groans could be heard as shot puts launched through the air. In the long-jump area, athletes flew before coming down hard in the wet sand. And on the race track, the sound of screams and cheering echoed across the field as family, friends, coaches, and volunteers encouraged each and every athlete to finish strong.

Grey said none of this would be possible were it not for the tireless efforts and support of the Special Olympics volunteers.

“They really are the glue that holds this whole thing together,” she said. “Our volunteers work so hard and do such a good job of making sure everything runs smoothly. Whether they’re out on the track gathering racers, washing shot puts, or handling the lunch service, we couldn’t be more grateful for all the work our volunteers do.”

Click here for a list of the results from Sunday’s track meet.

Be sure to keep up with our athlete’s journey as they head towards the 2017 Provincial Games in Medicine Hat from July 7-9.

For a listing of more summer events this year, check out our website calendar. You can also view more photos of this track meet by checking out our 2016 Provincial Track and Field Qualifier album on Facebook or Flickr.

 

This post is originally pulled from: http://www.specialolympics.ab.ca/special-olympics-athletes-shine-through-soggy-track-meet?id=649