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Duncan bowler punches ticket to Winter Games

Two Cowichan coaches also part of Team BC
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The Cowichan Valley Strikers include from left: coach Jean Scholefield, Nanaimo’s Bill Polz and Leanne Hewitt, Duncan’s Darian Tielemans, Maurice Bernier of Port Alberni, and coach Irene Lintner. Missing is Allen Hahner of Kelowna. (Courtesy of Irene Lintner)

Duncan 5-pin bowler Darian Tielemans and coaches Irene Lintner and Jean Scholefield will represent British Columbia at the 2024 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Calgary Feb. 27 to March 2.

On one of seven Team B.C. 5-pin bowling teams, Tielemans will be joined on the Cowichan Valley Strikers by Nanaimo’s Bill Polz and Leanne Hewitt, and Kelowna’s Allen Hahner.

“I’m so happy to be representing Cowichan Valley at the Winter Olympics in Calgary this month,” Tielemans said. “Being part of Team BC for 5 pin bowling will be an amazing experience. I’m so excited.”

Tielemans and his two coaches aren’t strangers to big multi-sports events. Last year around this time, they were in Kamloops at the Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games that ran Feb. 2 to Feb. 4 and featured 500 athletes with intellectual disabilities competing in bowling, skiing, curling, floor hockey, figure skating, snowshoeing, and speed skating.

Bowling was contested at Falcon Lanes and 120 athletes, including Tielemans, competed.

In the Yellow Division, Tielemans and the Cowichan Valley Strikers, coached by Lintner, won gold. In the Blue Division, the Cowichan Valley Knockouts, coached by Scholefield, won bronze.

“We are very proud of Darian,” Scholefield said. “I get to join the team as a second coach, I’m very pleased to be going to Calgary with them.”

Larger than the B.C. version and occurring every two years, the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Calgary will host 1,250 athletes, coaches, managers and mission staff this year. Team BC is comprised of 142 athletes, 50 coaches, and 14 mission staff from 31 communities.