Monday, April 14, 2014

Golden Games encourage camaraderie, competition.

Courtesy Nicole Dow; Neighbor Newspapers

Hundreds of North Fulton seniors 50 and older will compete in the 20th annual Golden Games next month from May 1 to 22.

Olympic-style events and other recreation activities will be held at various senior centers, parks and community centers in Alpharetta, Roswell, Milton, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs. The opening ceremony will take place May 1 at Wills Park in Alpharetta.

“The opening day is a kick off of the games and the lighting of the torch,” said Dixie Pounds, program supervisor at the Alpharetta Adult Activity Center. “It’s like a field day.”

Opening day events will include a one-mile walk and run, a half-mile walk, a flying disc throw, a discus and shot-put throw, a horseshoe toss, ladder golf and a football throw. North Fulton mayors will also compete in a “Minute to Win It”-style challenge.

A variety of events will be held throughout May as part of the games, including tennis, bowling, a dance competition, card tournaments, cycling, rock climbing, basketball contests, badminton, pickle ball, table tennis, billiards, bocce ball, swimming, diving and more.

“This is a whole month of events for Older Americans Month,” Pounds said.“It just encourages people to get out and be active. People that are used to competing in their life, they never lose that desire to compete on whatever level they can. Really these games pretty much have something for everybody, even people on walkers or if they need to sit down.”

Kiran Fatania, program supervisor with Roswell’s recreation and parks department, said she hopes the games provide local seniors with opportunities to socialize, a chance to build camaraderie and good sportsmanship and a way to compete in a fun setting. About 350 applicants have signed up for this year’s games, she said.

Pounds said registrations will still be accepted through mid-April.

In honor of the 20th year of the games, event winners will receive special medals marking the anniversary, Fatania said. The awards ceremony will take place May 22 at the Dorothy Benson Multipurpose Complex in Sandy Springs.

“Some of these participants have been competing for 20 years", she said.

Pounds said, “We have one senior, Dorothy Benson … she’s participated all 20 years. She’s an Alpharetta resident.”

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