Special Olympians to compete in curling

For the first time ever, a Fort Frances Special Olympics curling team will hit the ice in an exhibition game next month against a squad from Kenora.
“Curling so far is a demonstration sport but it will be the next one in line [to be accredited],” Special Olympics community co-ordinator Betty Salchert said Monday.
“The ones who have come out seemed to have liked it,” she added.
So far, seven local Special Olympians have come out to learn the sport under the direction of head coach Mike Baranowski.
They get together at least once a week at either the curling club here or the one in Emo, said Baranowski, adding they are having a difficult time finding ice time here in town.
Still, Baranowski hopes the team, which includes Danny Smith, Dave Ducasse, Arlin Scott, Jack McLeod, Chris Strain, Angie Pernsky, and Joyce Gosselin, will be ready for their match with Kenora in a few weeks.
“We’re going to go up there as one one team, and have substitutes so everyone can get a crack at playing the game,” said Baranowski.
He estimated the games probably would be shortened to six ends.
“It’s a tough sport to [learn] with all the strategy involved so we’ll have to see what happens,” he stressed.
Baranowski said the fact curling is being introduced as a medal sport at the Olympic Games for the first time next month in Nagano, Japan should help in their efforts land official status at the Special Olympics level.
Similar programs are being initiated in Timmins and Geraldton, giving Northern Ontario the jump on the rest of the field, enthused Baranowski.
In other news, local Special Olympians will be going to Atikokan on Sunday, Feb. 15 to participate in a 10-pin bowling tournament.