The Canada 55+ Games is a celebration of athletics for senior members of our community. The tournament aims to showcase excellence from athletes who are longer in the tooth. It is no question that there would be great competition during the three day event which made Merritt local, Diane Quinn, reluctant to join.

Quinn is a current member and secretary of the Merritt and District Tennis Club. Through some convincing of her peers, the local player decided to enter the tournament, which took place on August 26 – 27 at the Kamloops Tennis Club. Her play resulted in a bronze medal for mixed doubles and a fourth place finish at the ladies doubles.

Quinn is a retired teacher and is the current secretary for the Merritt and District Tennis Club. In 1972 she moved to Merritt with her husband, David, who had then purchased Black’s Pharmacy. Quinn became a teacher at the Nicola Canford Elementary School before she took a break due to family.

“I had stopped teaching because I had two very young children,” she explained. “That’s when I started taking tennis lessons. I started meeting people who were learning as well. I played with a lot of different people at that time.”

Quinn returned to teaching and continued until the age of 59. After retiring, she found herself becoming more and more involved with the local tennis club, even becoming president at one point in time.

The opportunity to join the senior games was open for everyone. Quinn, however, initially did not entertain the possibility of entering the tournament.

“There were so many clubs with all around tennis play, coaches and so on, while ours is just a very small club.” she described.

“Ours is nothing like those kinds of facilities. I didn’t even think of it until my friend, Maria Russell Martin who said ‘the most the can do is say we don’t qualify or send us to a qualifier match.”

Diane Quinn and Maria Russell Martin. Photo/Diane Quinn

Convinced, Quinn had entered both the mixed doubles with fellow local player Pavitar Dosanjh as well as ladies doubles with Ashcroft Tennis Club player, Maria Russell Martin.

“Actually I didn’t even plan on entering the tournament but their enthusiasm got me,” said Quinn. “As it turned out, we were accepted and it was very exciting!”

The tennis tournament was set in a round robin format. Quinn played three matches for the mixed doubles team, winning one game to secure the bronze medal. For the ladies doubles, Quinn had notched two wins, finishing at fourth place with Martin.

“Diane is a very good player,” said Dosanjh. “We had really good competition. Teams coming from all over the country were tough to beat.”

Not only did Quinn face tough competition throughout the tournament, but her teams also were also challenged by weather conditions.

“It was extremely hot,” she recalled. “Temperatures in the afternoon must have been 40 degrees, at least. When we had wind breaks, there weren’t even any cooling winds.”

After her performance in Kamloops, Quinn now gets ready for the BC Senior Games in Victoria, happening on September 13 – 17. Quinn will be a competitor for both the ladies singles and mixed doubles category.