Pickleball athletes meet at the net during the 2019 55+ B.C. Games in Kelowna. While the 2020 Games in Richmond were cancelled due to COVID-19, the Greater Victoria organizing committee has begun planning for hosting the 2021 competition next September. (Rosemary Kean/55+ BC Games Society)

Greater Victoria’s 55+ BC Games committee planning for safe 2021 competition

Richmond cancelled 2020 Games due to COVID, but local organizers optimistic about next year

It’s anyone’s guess what level of COVID-19-related restrictions may be in place for sports and recreation competitions by the fall of 2021.

On the heels of a cancelled 2020 competition in Richmond, the Sidney-based BC Seniors Games Society is moving forward in its planning to host next year’s 55+ BC Games in Greater Victoria. The competition features playdowns in more than 30 sports and activities between 12 zone teams from around the province, and can attract upwards of 3,600 athletes and 1,200 volunteers.

The society recently added a pair of key newcomers to its board at its annual general meeting on Sept. 17, installing Surrey’s Aart Looye as president and Esquimalt’s Sharon Davies as marketing and sponsorship committee chair.

RELATED STORY: 55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Davies, an accomplished amateur athlete and organizer with varied professional and volunteer experience in strategic planning, promotions and fundraising, is excited to serve on the society’s board.

“It’s a great opportunity to give back and try to promote an active lifestyle,” she said. For participants, she added, “it’s an opportunity to continue to compete in a sport that you love, but it is also about participation and having fun.”

While the society is monitoring provincial health regulations around COVID-19 as it plans its next attempt at staging the Games, Davies, a Bays United women’s soccer player, is encouraged at the work being done by various sports organizations in Greater Victoria to come up with Safe Return to Play protocols. She hopes the Games can draw on those experiences to create a safe environment for all participants.

From an economic standpoint, hosting a 55+ BC Games can be a lucrative proposition, Davies said, as all visiting participants book hotel rooms, eat in local restaurants and enjoy other activities while in the host city. It’s not uncommon for participants to extend their stays.

Davies’ duties as committee chair will include securing funding from sponsors. Businesses interested in getting on board with the 2021 55+ BC Games can reach her at marketing@55plusbcgames.org.

To register as a volunteer or find out more general information about the Games, visit 55plusbcgames.org or call 778-426-2940. To find a list of contacts and sport information for Vancouver Island South (Zone 1), visit 55plusbcgames.org/zones/zone1/.

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