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Athletes head home as 2012 Surrey BC Summer Games end

Three thousand athletes packed Holland Park Sunday afternoon for the closing ceremonies of the BC Summer Games. - Boaz Joseph / The Leader
Three thousand athletes packed Holland Park Sunday afternoon for the closing ceremonies of the BC Summer Games.
— image credit: Boaz Joseph / The Leader

After three days of athletic competition, thousands of the province's best young athletes gathered at Holland Park Sunday afternoon for the closing ceremonies and to look back on a successful BC Summer Games in Surrey.

More than 2,300 athletes competed in over 20 sports, with 375 medals won by the representatives of the eight zones.

“These Games saw a number of records fall as B.C.’s best came together,” said BC Games Society president and CEO Kelly Mann at the closing ceremonies. "We are seeing an escalation in skills in several sports, and many of the young people who competed here are well on their way to becoming provincial level athletes."

Zone 6 (Vancouver Island-Central Coast) topped the medal standings with 101, 38 of which were gold.

Zone 3 (Fraser Valley), which includes Surrey, was second in the overall tally, nine medals shy of top spot with 94. Fraser Valley athletes won 34 gold, 32 silver and 28 bronze medals.

The three gold medals won by Coquitlam’s Chanell Botsis in discus, hammer throw and javelin earned the 14-year-old the W.R. Bennett Award for Athletic Excellence. Her throw in the javelin was 43.06m, a new BC Games record, bettering the old mark of  41.23.

“I firmly believe that many of the stars produced by these Summer Games in Surrey will one day compete for our country," Mann said.

Canadian rowers have a history of being at the top of the podium on the world stage, and if results from the past three days at the Delta-Deas Rowing Club are any indication the future is bright for BC rowers to follow in their footsteps. Zone 6 Vancouver Island-Central Coast dominated on the water, with every one of the 11 athletes on the team earning a medal.

Teams from the host Zone 3 Fraser Valley won several of their final match-ups Sunday. The boys rugby, beach volleyball, box lacrosse and field lacrosse teams all won Gold as did the girls rugby, basketball, soccer and softball teams. The girls of Zone 5 Vancouver-Squamish prevailed over Fraser Valley in two of the most exciting match-ups of the Games. They took the Gold in volleyball and in line hockey.

Individually, there were a number of standouts over the three days of the Games. Swimmer Justin Howe, 14, of Victoria had the largest haul of medals for the boys on his Zone 6 Vancouver Island-Central Coast team, going home with three Golds, three Silvers and one Bronze. His performance bodes well for the upcoming Age Group Nationals he will be attending. Burnaby’s Jemal Reta of Zone 4 Fraser River-Delta set a new BC Games record for the men’s 2000m steeplechase. He also holds the 1500m steeplechase Games record.

Parents came from around the province to support, congratulate and console their children. They stood out in the crowds of spectators as they waved their team’s colours and cheered on the youngsters from the sidelines. Parents’ contributions to an athlete’s success often go unnoticed, but all would agree that having the opportunity to watch their child compete at a BC Games is a reward like no other. Many also expressed their appreciation for the long hours put in by the 3,000 volunteers who helped make the Surrey Games a success.

The BC Games cauldron will be lit again in 2014 in Mission for the BC Winter Games and in Nanaimo for the BC Summer Games.

• Watch a slideshow of images from the Games online, and for more stories from around B.C., visit http://www.bclocalnews.com/SpecialEvents/BCSummerGames/

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