One-year countdown begins for 2019 Western Canada Summer Games
By: Rob Vanstone, Regina Leader-Post
Plans are moving swiftly for the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games, which are to be held in Swift Current.
The 16-sport event, which is expected to feature 1,700 athletes, will begin a year from Thursday and run for 10 days.
“The milestone is important, in that we have been working for a year and a half behind the scenes, putting our board, our sport chairs and their teams together, developing venues and facilities in preparation for the Games,” says Mark Benesh, who co-chairs the event with Melissa Shaw.
“It is important to share this not only with the southwest region, but with our province. We are hosting these Games on behalf of our great province and we want this to be an inspiring and enjoyable Games experience.”
For that to occur, some ambitious objectives must be reached.
“We also seeking both a human and financial investment not only from southwest Saskatchewan, but from all of Saskatchewan and Western Canada,” Benesh says.
“We are working hard to meet our goal of 2,000 volunteers who will be required to support all of the planned sports and activities. We will also be working steadily to reach our financial goal of $2 million.
“Swift Current is the smallest city to host the Games, at 19,000 people, so we know the southwest region will be there to support the Games.”
The WCSG is to be held in Saskatchewan for the fifth time, following visits to Regina (1975 and 1987), Saskatoon (1979) and Prince Albert (1999).
“I think the excitement is growing,” Benesh says. “Now being just a year away, it is something more tangible for people, a time frame that is no longer off into the distant future.
“The city of Swift Current and all of southwest Saskatchewan are ready to display what a wonderful city and area they represent.”
Part of the preparation process includes upcoming test events in triathlon, open-water swim, cycling and beach volleyball.
The lead-up to the Games also includes venue construction and enhancements. For example, an all-weather track has been built.
“I think the Games will leave a legacy within the southwest — not just in venues, but in spirit and in inspiration,” says Benesh, who attended the inaugural WCSG in 1975 and also played basketball for Saskatchewan at the 1983 Games in Calgary.
For more information on the 2019 event, visit the Games’ website (www.2019wcsg.ca).