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Photos: Special Olympians celebrate four-year return of Port Coquitlam slo-pitch event

Port Coquitlam Minor Softball last hosted its annual showcase in 2019 following the pandemic and a weekend rain-out in 2022.

The skies finally cleared and the sun shined down for Port Coquitlam minor softball's annual showcase that honours athletes of all abilities.

Nearly 20 teams from across Metro Vancouver ran the bases at McLean Park this weekend, June 3 and 4, in the four-year return of the Special Olympics slo-pitch tournament.

The event ran for roughly 25 years until 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to postpone in 2020 and 2021 due to previous restrictions on sports and gatherings.

It was slated to officially make a comeback in 2022, but unforeseen rainfall prevented the players from taking the field.

"We are very blessed in having the use of this park," said lead tournament organizer Vera Robertson on Saturday (June 3).

"It showcases everyone's abilities, and to meet new friends, rekindle old friendships, to demonstrate team spirit and have a lot of fun," added Port Coquitlam Coun. Nancy McCurrach, who was on site for the occasion.

"Smiles are are an essential thing that we need to do all around."

In total, 18 teams played their hearts out for the 'A' and 'C' division trophies.

This includes local ball clubs from Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, as well as those from Abbotsford, Burnaby, Delta, Langley, Mission, North Shore, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver.

Most of the athletes involved have represented Special Olympics Canada at regional, provincial, national and even international events.