Local athletes excel at national Special Olympic games

 

Celine and Gabe Labreque hold up their medals from their recent trip to the Special Olympic nationals in Vancouver.

Celine and Gabe Labreque hold up their medals from their recent trip to the Special Olympic nationals in Vancouver.

By Ron Giofu

 

A pair of local athletes have done well in the 2014 Special Olympic national games and are now hoping to go to the world games.

Gabe and Celine Labrecque competed in the national games last month in Vancouver and are awaiting word if they will be invited to the Special Olympics world games to be held next year in Los Angeles.

Gabe, a 16-year-old track and field athlete, won gold in his age class in the 100m, took silver in the 4x100m relay and also participated in the 3000m, 1500m, 200m and the shot put. He set personal bests in the 200m and the 3000m.

“I like testing my abilities against everyone else,” said Gabe.

It was his first national meet, something he has been training three years for. He attends formal practices twice a week and trains at least three times per week on his own at Centennial Park.

“It’s a lot of work and a lot of pain,” he said.

“It was a very good showing to say the least,” father Bob said of Gabe’s showing at the national Special Olympics meet.

“The good thing about getting gold in the 100m is I’m the fastest kid in my age group in Canada,” he said.

For Celine, it was her second national meet with her taking home a total of five gold and one silver in rhythmic gymnastics.

“I was shocked like crazy,” said Celine, who celebrated her 17th birthday while in Vancouver.

“We both cried together,” added mother Cindy.

Celine competed in nationals in London in 2011 but was declared too young to go to Greece for the world competition. Her parents took her to Greece anyway for vacation but hope that her performance at this year’s nationals allows her to go to the world games next year.

“She knocked it out of the park again,” said Bob.

Celine, who helps mentor other Special Olympians, added that competing has had a tremendous impact on her life. She first started competing at seven-years-old and currently takes multiple gymnastics and dance classes per week to keep improving.

“Special Olympics has changed my life big time,” said Celine, who is also a Special Olympics ambassador.

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