Senior Games are more than just a hobby

SWING AWAY: Not afraid to battle it out on the court, Tony Fattal managed to snare himself a silver in 65+ mens singles tennis during the 2010 Senior Games. (PHOTO COURTESY ILSE VERWEY)

Participants take a sporting chance in 2010 fest

The 28th annual North York Senior Games had a new edition this year: pickleball.

Akin to ping-pong but with a whiffle ball, the import from Scarborough will add double-paddle action for those who appreciate tennis, table tennis and badminton, already among the events.

This year the event was a demonstration sport, but games spokesperson Ilse Verwey said they’re hoping it will take up a full-time position for 2011.

“The pickleball could not run a competition because we just aren’t skilled at it yet,” she said. “We hope that maybe by next year there will be enough people who will want to play competitively.”

The new game proved to be a bit of a challenge even to Verwey.

“That ball just doesn’t bounce properly for me,” Verwey said. “You have to under hit it.

“I had a go at it but at this point I’m not crazy about it,” she added. “I’ll stick to table tennis and swimming.”

Verwey’s already a champion in the pool: she won two golds in the 75+ sprint medley, while in the ladies 65+ Ali Toh claimed another two.

Darko Dizdar, Slavko Solesa, Mel Goldberg and Alfred Rubinoff scored golds in their respective mens groups 55+, 65+ and 75+.

Other results saw Merrie Lee and Sandy Navarette claim ladies badminton doubles; Wilson Kwok and Glen Chong in mens doubles and Merrie Lee scoring another gold with mixed doubles partner Jim Tsang.

Nunzio Costa and Bruno Marcello flashed their best on the bocce lane while Anne Baillie and Carole Barker won for carpet bowling.

Card sharks in contract bridge included Abdul Jessa and Ismail Remtulla, while Caroline Falsetti and Edith Chambers avoided being euchred by beating the Gaspichs, Mary and John.

Tennis victors included Klara Diosady in 55+ ladies; Lynda Wise in 65; Wing Chen in mens 55+ and Milan Borobicka in 65+.

All participants will be honoured at the closing ceremonies June 15 at the Seniors Centre.

Next on tap are the Actifest Games in Oshawa from August 10–12.

Verwey looks to grab more gold in a successful senior games for her and those involved, definitely a sign of growing interest in staying fit for the older generation.

“It’s why we’re encouraging oldies to at least get out of hibernation to participate at an amateur level,” she said.
Mind you, it’s not all friendly.

“Of course it’s sort of amateur level but I have to confess we’re all competing when we’re in the games,” she said. “I think it’s starting to develop into a seriously accepted activity for seniors.”

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