Francois bowls her way to national Special Olympics gold

Flora Francois of Thompson, Northern Manitoba's only representative at the 2010 Special Olympics Canada national summer games in London, Ont., did herself, her region and her province proud July 16, picking up an individual gold medal in five-pin bowling, one of 30 gold medals won by Team Manitoba's 73 athletes.

Manitoba Special Olympians also picked up 26 silver and 23 bronze for a total of 79 medals at the games, which wrapped up July 17.

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Francois's gold was one of eight that Team Manitoba picked up in five-pin bowling. Others included gold medallist Marc Pellissier, silver medallists Gisel Flora, Gerald Letandre, Kelsey Rehill and Sherman Kreutzer, and bronze medal-winners Marcel Vandersteen and Brian Levreault.

Francois finished the team competition with a total pinfall of 782 and a cumulative 29 points over average. Her best score was a 166 in the opening game, 46 pins over he 120 average. She also bowled 150 in her third game.

A member of the Thompson Stars Bowling Club, Francois qualified for Team Manitoba by competing at the 2009 Special Olympics Manitoba (SOM) Provincial Games.

Earlier this year, Francois was part of the Norman five-pin Special Olympics bowling team, along with John Cook, Debbie Ducharme, Peter Dumas and Shawn Hay, that won eight of 14 games and a tiebreaker over Winnipeg Gold, to claim a bronze medal at the 2010 Power Smart Manitoba Winter Games in Portage la Prairie. That medal was one of only three won by Team Norman at the games.

Seventy-three athletes and 26 volunteer coaches and mission staff from Manitoba departed for the Special Olympics Canada national summer games July 12.

The games are a qualifying event for the 2011 Special Olympics International Summer Games in Athens, Greece.

Held every two years, the Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games is a first-class sporting event featuring intense competition and inspiring performances by the movement's greatest athletes. Over 1,400 Special Olympics athletes, coaches and official delegations from all the provinces and two territories of Canada will participate in the games.

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