Local Special Olympian Stephen Lee to compete in bowling at national games
A local man is going to the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games to compete in bowling in Richmond this month.
Stephen Lee, 26, of Oliver, who bowls regularly at Kobau Lanes in Osoyoos, will represent B.C. along with his teammates in the national competition.
The games, mostly held at the University of British Columbia, run from July 8 to 12. The bowling events are held at the Zone Bowling Centre in Richmond. Special Olympians have various levels of learning disabilities.
Lee said he has been bowling for about 10 years. Since he was named to Team B.C., he’s been bowling about twice a week.
Lee got his break last year when he was invited to bowl for Summerland when that team was short a player. The team went on to win silver at the B.C. Special Olympics in Langley.
As a result of that success, he was invited to become a member of Team B.C. in five-pin bowling for the national games.
This is the first time he has competed at the national level.
Lee said he feels very good about being chosen for the team and is excited to be competing at the national level, where he will face other Special Olympians from across Canada.
Born in Fort St. John, Lee said he enjoys bowling for the exercise.
“He’s an excellent athlete and he’s serious about what he’s doing,” said Lee Chic, local co-ordinator with South Okanagan Special Olympics. “This year he’s been training in the gym, twice or three times a week.”
Lee said he trains in cardio and other exercises his trainer gives him, typically for an hour and a half to two hours.
Bowling is the only sport he participates in.
“I started bowling in school for fun,” said Lee.
Chic says Kobau Lanes are convenient to local Special Olympians because the pool of athletes come mainly from Osoyoos and Oliver.
Danny Tarasewich, owner of the bowling alley, is very generous with the fees charged to the athletes, she added.
“They are well taken care of,” she said. “They bowl Monday nights from September until the beginning of April and it’s convenient and it’s a nice, comfortable place to be.”
Chic said she wishes Lee the best of luck in the games.
“I told Stephen last week there are two things for you to remember,” she said. “One is to breathe and the other is to focus. He said, ‘no Lee, there are three. One ball at a time.’ So he’s got it.”