Host town Clarenville prepared for close to 1,300 competing athletes, coaches and managers
“It’s big week coming up and everything is solid,” in preparation for the 2014 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games,” says Glen Smith.
The Sport Newfoundland and Labrador Games coordinator said the host committee and the people of Clarenville and area can’t wait for the Games to begin.
Opening ceremonies are set for 6:00 p.m. this evening at Clarenville Events Centre.
Smith said the volunteers have been “actively engaged” for the past two years and “they’ve thought of everything, believe me.”
There are close to 500 volunteers involved in helping to put on the week-long sports event.
“I’ve been working with them from Day One and they are just a fantastic crowd,” said Smith.
Smith said there are about 20 people on the “core” committee, but dozens of others on branches of the various sub committees, he noted.
“They’ve really been engaged from the start,” he said.
As an example of the enthusiasm within the community and surrounding area, Smith noted that last week there was a volunteer night for a briefing on what was going on and they filled the theater in the Events Centre.
“They were expecting about 100 people and three times as many showed up,” he said. “That was an unbelievable turnout.”
“We thought that putting together the committee two years in advance we’d eventually be looking for things to do at times, but there’s never been a shortage of things to do. Right from Day One, everybody had a full plate. A week never went by where someone wasn’t making progress on something,” said Smith.
About 1,300 athletes, coaches and managers are expected to compete over the week-long event. About 600 are expected in the first half of the Games and then another 700 for the remaining days.
Nine regions (St. John’s North, Mount Pearl South, Avalon, Eastern, Central, Western, Labrador St-Pierre et Miquelon and Host) will compete in the Games. Athletes from these regions will take part in 11 sports including bowling, basketball, cross-country skiing, hockey, wrestling, alpine skiing, badminton, figure skating, gymnastics, table tennis and volleyball.
The Athletes Village is in the Clarenville Middle School and Clarenville High School complex.
Smith said there were no new facilities built for the Games but everything is “kind of getting a refresh.”
He said a lot of the facilities will end up getting some new equipment because of the Games.
Clarenville High School and Middle School along with Riverside Elementary School gyms will be used as well as Caribou Lanes and White Hills facilities for alpine and cross-country skiing. The figure skating competition will be held at the Trinity-Placentia Stadium in Whitbourne.
Meanwhile, the host committee had been encouraging residents of Clarenville to keep their Christmas lights up late this year to make the town “shine” during the week of the Games.
Smith isn’t sure how many complied and he figures you will have to wait until the Games begin to know that for sure.
Closing ceremonies are slated for March 8 at 7:00 p.m.