Ontario ParaSport Games end in a blaze of medals

COBOURG --(June 4) -- Drenched in weekend sunshine, the 2014 Ontario ParaSport Games in Northumberland wrapped up Sunday in a blaze of gold, silver and bronze medal ceremonies.

As 300 competitors, coaches and sport officials packed their bags for home, organizers had nothing but praise for the 250 community volunteers who put an equally sunny face on the Games.

"We couldn't have done it without them," said an elated Games Chair Paul Macklin as the biggest multi-sport competition ever in Northumberland County drew to a close.

"Our volunteers proved themselves to be superb ambassadors for the County, and wonderful hosts."

Macklin said organizers have been overwhelmed by positive comments from all participants about Northumberland’s hospitality and spirit.

"The buzz really started on Friday night," said Macklin, "when athletes started dancing and clapping in the aisles at the end of Alan Frew’s inspirational performance at our opening ceremonies.

"He sure fired up the crowd."

After the gala, athletes gleefully sang the Scottish-born Frew's hit song, "Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone," as they clambered aboard a fleet of buses and headed back to hotels in Port Hope, Cobourg and Trenton.

At the opening ceremonies, MC York Bell-Smith of Pineridge Broadcasting told an appreciative crowd of 600 at the Cobourg Community Centre just how solidly Northumberlanders stood behind the Games.

He revealed the Games sponsorship campaign fully met its goal of $100,000 in cash and in-kind donations.

For his part, Macklin called the fundraising achievement "a credit to a generous, caring community that embraces the concept of accessibility for everyone."

But the Games chair also noted Canadian children with a disability have a dismal participation rate in regular sport and recreation activity. "We’re only at 3 per cent, so there is still a long hill to climb."

Brian McLean, executive director, ParaSport Ontario, congratulated organizers, athletes, coaches, support staff and fans "for making the weekend a huge success . . . all the competitions were fair and outstanding."

Also commenting on the success of the Games, Marc Seguin, chair of Sport Alliance Ontario, noted "Over the three days, competition was fierce and the volunteer support outstanding across all venues."

He praised the Games Organizing Committee for staging "an athlete-centred Games" that will long be remembered, and congratulated athletes on their achievements. "We would also like to acknowledge the dedication of the coaches, managers and support staff."

Official results of medal competitions in all eight sports are available on the Games website at http://www.2014parasportgames.ca/en/Volunteers/Results.asp.For photos of the Games, visit the website at http://www.2014parasportgames.ca/en/Media/Games-Photo-Gallery.asp as well as the official Games Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/2014ParaSportGames