A few Merrittonians seniors won medals at the Abbotsford 2023 55-plus Games, which was held on August 22 to 26.

Diane Quinn won silver medal in the women’s doubles event with her tennis partner Maria Russell Martin. Contributed/Diane Quinn.

Dianne Quinn, 79, was representing Merritt in the tennis’ mixed doubles and women’s doubles. Quinn won a silver medal while playing the women 75-79 doubles with her team partner Maria Russell Martin from Ashcroft.

“We did have quite a convincing win against the last pair we played,” she said. 

She also said that the medal represents a great achievement for her, but it is not the reason she plays.

“It’s a game I love. I would be doing it without the medal,” Quinn said.

Quinn played the mixed doubles 60-65 category with Balwant Bains, another Merrittonian, which she said there were different challenges.

“We were playing against much younger people and teams, you know, they’re used to playing with one another,” she said. “It’s a faster game, especially when it comes to volleys. The desire always is to hit the woman, you know, hot to the weaker one.”

Balwant Bains won silver medal in the tennis men’s singles category for ages 60-65. Contributed/Diane Quinn.

Balwant Bains, 64, also played in the men’s single tennis category in which he won a silver medal at the men 60-64 singles.

Bains said the gold medal and the silver medal he has won during the competition mean a lot to him.

“The most important thing that they mean is that I can still do it. I can still play and achieve something like that,” he said. “I’m proud and looking forward to go back and get a couple more (medals).”

Besides Bains and Quinn, Merritt was also represented by the floor curling team composed of five members. Dot Coburn, Bernard Larocque, Joanne Larocque, Alan Moore and John Emery gave their all and brought a gold medal home.

Joanne Larocque said they were a pretty unique team.

“We had someone who was 91 and another person who had never gone to the games before and he is in his 86,” she said.

The 91-year-old floor curling player was John Emery, who was new in the sport, according to Larocque.

“In the six months (of training), he developed (a lot). He was the lead, the number one person,” she said. 

The floor curling team ended up winning five games out of eight, scoring more points than other teams overall, which made them win the gold medal.

“We didn’t think we could do it,” Larocque said. “In fact, on the first day we played, we lost three games and won one game … we thought ‘well, we’re probably going to get maybe lucky to get a bronze now’.”

Larocque said they got back the following day and won all their games.

She encourages everyone who would like to participate in the BC Seniors Games, to give it a try.

“You’ll get a sense of how proud people are and how, you know, how they’re happy to be there and be part of something like that.”