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CANADA GAMES CRAZINESS
Ottawa sends a team of over 40 athletes across 12 sports to the 50th anniversary of our national games.
Close club teammates set to share Canada Summer Games experience in Winnipeg from July 28th - August 15th By Dan Plouffe
On the heels of a home nationals, 2 dozen local athletes to represent Canada internationally this summer.
A pair of strong cyclists celebrated national titles at home – triathlete Joanna Brown and road cyclist Matteo Dal-Cin.
Laura Amoi, Nyoka Maxwell and Hans Lafleur share piles of similarities. They are all members of Ottawa’s big 40-athlete-strong Canada Summer Games contingent, set to compete in track-and-field at the July 28-Aug. 15 multi-sport event for young, rising Canadian athletes. They are all members of the local CANI Athletics club, and amongst Canada’s very best, which they demonstrated on their home Terry Fox track at the July 6-9 Canadian Track-andField Championships in Ottawa. And, they all had to be dragged kicking and screaming into track-andfield initially. “No, what is that?” was Maxwell’s first reaction when approached with the idea that she might do well in track with all the speed she displayed as a football player of 6 years. Volleyball was cool too, but not track. At least that’s what she thought at first.
photo: steve kingsman
Laura Amoi. “When I was in Grade 9, I was like, “OK, I want to try this out,” recalls the John McCrae Secondary School
grad. “And then I was good at it. So to figure out something, you’ve got to keep doing it, right?
“So I kept doing it.”
CG TRACK continues on p.8
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OTTAWA AT THE CANADA SUMMER GAMES
There’s a family feel to canoe-kayak, say big 7-member local crew By Martin Boyce Paddling is in Philipe Turcanu’s blood. The Ottawa River Canoe Club athlete was introduced to the sport by his older brother, Victor, a past Junior World Championships competitor for Canada. Though Phil was more intrigued by the balance required in canoeing than the speed of kayaking (Victor’s pursuit), the younger Turcanu gained plenty of insights about 6 a.m. practices and the grind of a season from his senior sibling. “He pretty much helped me and guided me gently throughout my seasons, and now it’s gotten to the point where I’m the one guiding him,” smiles Turcanu, who topped his brother’s 4-medal haul from the 2012 Ontario Summer Games with 6 golden ones at last year’s provincial games. Nine years after first testing the waters, Turcanu is racing his most competitive season
yet in the leadup to the 2017 Canada Summer Games, despite a wrist injury that limited his abilities earlier this year. Before Winnipeg, Turcanu will have competed at the July 27-30 ICF Junior Canoe Sprint World Championships in Romania, which he is particularly looking forward to because of his Romanian heritage. “It’s quite terrifying to be honest,” laughs the 17-year-old, noting it will be his first time competing abroad. “You gotta have your heart and mind into it. Otherwise, it’s not going to end up doing too great.” The Canadian and CanAmMex Championships are another pair of big events on his schedule this summer, which he views as further steps towards his ultimate goal of making it to the Olympics. “It’s a lot of young guys’ dreams, but the more you work hard to get to those international levels, the closer it is,” indicates the Bell High School student. “I’m hoping I’m able to make it up there.”
BACK-TO-BACK CANADA GAMES FOR SIBTHORPE CLAN
Junior athlete Isaac Finkelstein (above) is 1 of 6 Rideau Canoe Club paddlers who will compete at World Championships this summer. He’ll attend the July 27-30 ICF Canoe Sprint Junior and U23 World Championships alongside Rowan Hardy-Kavanagh (U23 women’s canoe), Stephen Frodsham (U23 men’s canoe) and Madeline Schmidt (U23 women’s kayak), while Sherbrooke 2013 Canada Games competitors Drew Hodges (men’s canoe) and Natalie Davison (women’s kayak) will attend the Aug. 23-27 senior worlds in Czech Republic. Hodges was a big winner at the Rideau-hosted Canada Cup 1 regatta on the Canada Day weekend, victorious in the men’s C-2 1,000 m event. The U16 K-4 women’s 500 m provided another major highlight for the host club, with Rideau boats finishing 1-2.
Like Turcanu, August Sibthorpe’s family has also made a name for themselves in the sport. This year, she’s the one taking centre stage. Following in her older sister Megan’s footsteps to the Canada Games, the 20-year-old will join the big 5-paddler, 2-coach Rideau Canoe Club contingent headed to Winnipeg. With Sibthorpe brothers and cousins also paddling competitively, the sport has become a whole family affair. “My sister did it first, then my cousins, so it’s kind of like a fun family thing,” signals the University of Ottawa student. “It makes me enjoy the sport a lot more.” One spot away from a berth at the junior/ U23 worlds, Sibthorpe says there’s room for her to improve. “This year, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I didn’t fully commit to it,” notes the 2014 and 2015 junior worlds competitor. “Next year, I want to focus more on (making a worlds team), make more of an effort to train harder in the winter and be more prepared for races to qualify.” Heading into the Canada Games, the Glebe
Collegiate Institute grad says she is looking forward to working with different crews and potentially finding a great fit. “Everyone says it’s the most fun trip,” says Sibthorpe, whose club counted five athletes at Sherbrooke 2013 as well. “You get to travel as a team and it’s like a mini-Olympics.” The other four Rideau paddlers accompanying Sibthorpe are kayakers Joseph Spratt and Lexy Vincent, and canoeists Isaac Finkelstein and Rowan Hardy-Kavanagh, alongside coaches Diana Deek and Cheyanne Farquharson. “I want to figure out what works best for me right now and paddle the best I can,” says Spratt, an Algonquin College student from Lansdowne, Ont. “I’m really looking to put together a good start and just make sure that it all goes well to have a strong race.” Vincent, a Carleton University student, will be competing in her second Canada Games. The 20-year-old from Regina won a bronze medal for Saskatchewan in the K-1 women’s 1000 metres four years ago and also competed in the 2015 Canada Winter Games as a cross-country skier. With 15 national medals and five interna-
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tional medals, 18-year-old Isaac Finkelstein is perhaps the most decorated of his teammates. He’s also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Hardy-Kavanagh, a 20-year-old kayakerturned-canoeist, recently made her World Cup debut for Canada in May, earning 5th-place finishes in back-to-back C-2 500 m races (which was recently added to the 2020 Olympic programme). She will compete in her first Junior Worlds in late July. The local crew also includes Geneviève L’Abbe of the Ottawa River Canoe Club. Originally from just north of Kingston, L’Abbe’s road to Canada Games included summers training at ORCC since age 15, and overcoming the challenges of a broken leg after being struck by a car while doing a cycling workout in Florida as well as balancing her intensive engineering studies at Carleton University upon moving to Ottawa full-time in 2016. Regardless of which jersey athletes wear, there is a family feel that permeates the sport, says Rideau coach Wade Farquharson. “All of canoeing in Canada is really like a canoe club,” he highlights. “It’s not a provincial team. It’s not the national team.”
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OTTAWA AT THE CANADA SUMMER GAMES
Youngest swimmer & sr. int’l athlete part of local aquatics reps By Martin Boyce
Reading the Canada Games nomination email over and over, 13-yearold Greater Ottawa Kingfish swimmer Regan Rathwell was overcome with emotion. A dream, that only recently seemed like a true possibility, became reality. “I was in tears honestly,” recounts Ontario’s youngest Canada Games swimmer. “I read the email over and over and then I just burst into tears I was so happy.” The Ottawa native has only been swimming competitively for 5 years but has made immense strides since choosing the pool over pre-competitive gymnastics. Rathwell earned her Canada Games spot in the 100-metre backstroke and was the second highestrated Ontario girl based on Swimming Canada’s On Track performance evaluator (an analytics-driven system that measures athletes’ performances in various events at given ages to identify potential future stars). “It just makes me really happy and hopefully it helps me out down the road,” adds the former Carleton Place Dragons swimmer who lives on the western edge of Ottawa. The high points earner from the Eastern Ontario regionals in February and June, Rathwell sees the Canada Games as the perfect opportunity to thrive on the momentum she’s gained from her strong year. “It’s probably been one of the best seasons I’ve had because I changed to this team (GO Kingfish) and proved a lot while I was here,” underlines the 5’ 8” athlete. “My times have been getting a lot faster.” Rathwell, who’s appreciative of her family’s endless support, recognizes her Canadian Age Group Championships 100 m breaststroke gold medal last year as a defining moment
make it to the Olympics or have the chance to compete in high-level meets for the Canadian national team.”
TEAM ONTARIO DIVER RECENTLY DEBUTED FOR SENIOR NATIONAL TEAM
in her young career. She says it was then that she realized she was a top swimmer. “To go to the Olympics, that’d be insane,” Rathwell signals. “That’s just a dream that I have every night. It would just make me very happy.” Rathwell will be joined by another pair of local swimmers: Gaël Shindano, a Special Olympics swimmer who trains with the Ottawa Swim Club, Ottawa Otters and Natation Gatineau, and Nepean-Kanata Barracudas swimmer David Quirie. Quirie’s nomination to Team Ontario came as a surprise to the 15-year-old. He didn’t make the grade in his signature 200 m backstroke event, but later punched his ticket to Winnipeg through the 400 m freestyle. “I didn’t really expect myself to get nominated for that, but it happened, so I was pretty excited and surprised,” signals Quirie, whose time in the 400 m free placed him 11th overall in the age 14-16 category at the Eastern Canadian Championships. “This is probably the biggest achievement I’ve had in my swimming
career thus far,” he adds. “I’m definitely looking forward to training with all the other great swimmers from Ontario and to be able to make new friends with the able-bodied and other para-swimmers.” Quirie aims to follow in the foot-
steps of his older siblings, who have both moved on to swim competitively for their respective universities. “They definitely inspired me to start swimming,” indicates Quirie, who also aspires to move past his siblings. “My biggest goal would be to
While many athletes use Canada Games as a launching pad towards higher levels in their sports, diver Henry McKay has already springboarded himself onto greater heights (figuratively and literally). The Nepean-Ottawa Diving Club product made his senior international debut for Canada at a May FINA Grand Prix series event in Puerto Rico, narrowly missing the 6-man final after advancing through the preliminary round. Recently crowned Canadian 1 m champ in the age 16-17 division, McKay has now setup shop full-time at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre in Scarborough. He says he’d like to achieve personal-best scores and win a medal for Ontario at the Canada Games.
ONTARIO COACHING & STAFF RANKS WELL-POPULATED BY OTTAWANS It takes a lot of energy to power a team of 450+, and Ottawa is well-represented in off-field capacities as well at the Canada Summer Games. Coaches, managers, chaperones, technicians and mission staff are some of the many volunteer roles that drive Team Ontario athletes behind the scenes. The local list includes coaches Leslie Estwick (Ottawa Lions Track-andField Club), Jamie Bell (Ottawa Rowing Club/Carleton Ravens), Scott Searle (Orleans Rebels/University of Ottawa Gee-Gees softball), Greg Kealey (Bytown Storm Triathlon Club), and Cheyanne Farquharson &
Good luck to Rideau-Goulbourn’s
Regan Rathwell a n d to a l l ath l etes at th e Can ada S ummer G ames!
G O T EAM ONTARIO!
Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca | (613) 580-2491
w w w . R i d e au G o u lbo u rn .c a
Diana Deek (both Rideau Canoe Club), support staff Guylain Shindano (swimming athlete assistant), Peter Wood (sailing boat driver) and Kate Gorsline (rowing technical support), plus Ontario mission team members: Ottawa Sport Council executive director Marci Morris (sailing & road cycling), technology expert Shravan Chopra (men’s softball & wrestling), Speed Skating Canada’s Janice Dawson (mountain bike & canoe-kayak), 2016 Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Volunteer honouree and Sherbrooke 2013 mission team vet Cathy O’Doherty.
OTTAWA AT THE CANADA SUMMER GAMES
Florida-bound NCAA tennis player pumped for final foray in north and the local Kanata Klassic at the March Tennis Club the week of July Ending his junior tennis career in 16. style, Malik Bhatnagar will look to Bhatnagar was eliminated in take home gold for Team Ontario at qualifying for the Gatineau event, but the Canada Summer Games before helped Canadian Denis Shapovalov packing his bags for the Sunshine warmup the morning before he won State. the tourney, then played himself back “It means a lot actually, just that in Kanata, winning both the men’s 2 (OR 3?) TITLES IN SAME DAY I can go represent Ontario,” says the singles and doubles events. Stetson University-bound Barrhaven This season is “going pretty well” Bhatnagar, who trains out of the native. “I think it’s a great way to end for Bhatnagar, who jumped back and Barrhaven Tennis Club in the summer, off my junior career before I head over forth between the $100,000 ITF says he’s taken big strides recently. to university.” Challenger tournament in Gatineau “On court, I’ve become a little bit more sound mentally. I’m much more patient,” he notes. “I’ve Fitness | Confidence | Lifelong Friendships | Community | FUN really brought my game together like LESSONS FOR ALL that, but I think also 2 SUMMER AGES ALSO AVAILABLE: playing aggressive has CAMPS SITES: Carleton Tennis Centre been a big help for Valleystream Tennis Centre West Ottawa me.” Tennis Club St. James Tennis Club The Ottawa Sports Craig Henry Ottawa Tennis & Lawn Awards’ top tennis Tennis Club Bowling Club player of 2016 views his domestic tournaments as great preparation for his up“Spreading the Love of Tennis for 35 Years” coming NCAA career. 613-203-8816 | email@example.com “The team envirtennisforlifeottawa.com onment down there
By Martin Boyce
Prior to high school, Bhatnagar relocated to Burlington after having success both provincially and nationally. The 18-year-old Cedarview Middle School grad has since continued progressing, earning several titles and runner-up finishes in International Tennis Federation junior events.
Discover the joys of tennis this summer!
photo: steve kingsman
is what I’m really looking forward to,” signals Bhatnagar, who recently won doubles silver and placed 4th in singles nationally. “Representing the school will be a great experience.” The Burlington ACE Tennis Academy athlete says he’s also thrilled to play in beautiful weather all year round, rather than indoors during the dreaded Canadian winter. Before that escape, however, comes a unique event in Winnipeg.
The Canada Games – which counts amongst its alumni Ottawa native and recent French Open mixed doubles champion Gabriela Dabrowski – will offer another excellent developmental opportunity against the country’s best, Bhatnagar indicates. “I’m working on my serve, playing a big game, and looking for the forehand,” he explains. “Just get some matches in, get my timing down, and get ready for what’s to come.”
Your Ottawa of Provincial Parliament: The Members Ottawa Liberal Caucus: Vosgroupe députésparlementaire du Parlement provincial d’Ottawa : Le libéral d’Ottawa Proud of our Ottawa athletes at the 2017 Canada Summer Games! Fiers de nos athlètes d’Ottawa participant aux Jeux d’été du Canada de 2017!
Hon. Bob Chiarelli Ottawa West–Nepean Ottawa-Ouest–Nepean 613-721-8075
Nathalie Des Rosiers Ottawa-Vanier 613-744-4484
John Fraser Ottawa South Ottawa-Sud 613-736-9573
Marie-France Lalonde Ottawa–Orléans 613-834-8679
Hon. Yasir Naqvi Ottawa-Centre 613-722-6414
OTTAWA AT THE CANADA SUMMER GAMES
Local cyclicts revel in home nationals in lead-up to Canada Games By Martin Boyce Just years after abandoning his bike for skis, Timothy Austen finds himself back on the road climbing up the ranks of Canadian cycling. At age 17, after a suffering a concussion on his bike, the Ottawa native turned to cross-country skiing as a means to fill the void created by a discouraging last bike season. But Austen says he began training and competing purely for success on skis, rather than his own self-satisfaction and pleasure, and decided once again to change his course. This time, he stored away his skis and hopped back on the bike. Two years after resurrecting his cycling career, Austen earned his place on Team Ontario for this year’s Canada Games in Winnipeg. “I’m really happy,” says the member of the local Ride With Rendall club. “I’m lucky to have the support of my team that got me to the right races to get picked for selection.” It was team support that led him to a good ride in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay in June, signals Austen, who recently enjoyed racing in June’s Global Relay Canadian Road Championships in Ottawa. “It was really great. I love racing at home,” underlines the 21-year-old Carleton University philo-
Tim Austen & Katherine Maine.
photos: martin boyce
sophy student. “A lot of friends and family that usually wouldn’t come watch me race got to see me. It’s pretty special.” Austen is looking forward to racing in the criterium event right in front of the Manitoba Legislature, and simply participating in his first multi-sport event. “I don’t think it’ll be as good as racing in Ottawa
because that’s is pretty special,” the Glebe Collegiate Institute grad maintains. “But, I think it’ll come pretty close.” Racing at home was an even bigger treat for Austen’s fellow Team Ontario member Katherine Maine. She’d missed the 2016 edition of the nationals due to a concussion from a race shortly before the Championships in Ottawa. Riding past
familiar faces and places was a career highlight for the Rally Cycling rider. “I had friends and family all over the course and hearing them yell my name was super awesome,” smiles the 19-year-old Lisgar Collegiate Institute grad. “It gave me extra energy.” Maine began mountain biking 8 years ago and quickly made a name for herself in cyclocross, then on the track and the road, earning a spot on Team Canada for the 2015 Junior World Championships in both disciplines. The Ottawa Bicycle Club-brewed athlete further solidified her status as one of Canada’s best upand-coming riders with national U23 bronze and silver medals in the road race and individual time trial at this year’s nationals. Maine will look to keep up her momentum heading into the highly-anticipated Canada Games. “It’s been a goal of mine throughout the season and I’m just super excited,” she highlights. Fellow OBC product Ariane Bonhomme, who placed 1st among U23 women in the criterium at nationals, will represent Team Quebec at the Canada Games. “It’s always fun to get to represent your province,” notes the Gatineau native and Cyclery 4iiii rider. “I’ve only heard good things about Canada Games, so I’m really excited to be a part of that.”
Rowing opens up world of possibilities to sport’s newcomers By Mat LaBranche The Canada Summer Games is sure to be a unique experience for all involved, but Hunter Amesbury and Mary-Jo Weir Weiss will get to enjoy an extra treat that the other local participants won’t: they’ll be on the home team. With the rowing venue situated 200 km east of Winnipeg on Rabbit Lake at the Kenora Rowing Club, the Carleton Ravens rowing pair will chase gold for Ontario, in Ontario. “I’m really excited to compete with the team and see how we stack up,” says Amesbury, who will race in the men’s 8 and pair events. “We have a really great team and all the other athletes are a lot of fun to train with.
We’re expecting to win. It obviously depends on the other crews and the work they’ve put in leading up, but we’re very hopeful that we’ll come away with gold. We’re very competitive and a strong squad.” Amesbury’s injection into the sport of rowing came through family ties. His cousin, Paul Amesbury, was a Rio 2007 Pan Am Games champion for Canada, and introduced Hunter to the sport back in high school. “He suggested I start rowing and that’s really how I got into it,” recalls Amesbury, a third-year Carleton University commerce student from Burlington. “Having a role model like Paul has really helped me a lot. If I ever need to go talk to someone, he’s right there, as he’s been through the whole
Hunter Amesbury. routine. “I just hope I can follow in his footsteps with his help and advice, and con-
tinue the Amesbury rowing success.” Weir Weiss picked up the sport much differently than Amesbury. Rowing was just supposed to be a simple hobby for her. “I got into in first-year and there’s a novice rowing team here at Carleton,” recounts the second-year engineering student from Kanata. “I joined just to make friends and get more involved with the school, and I ended up really liking it and eventually stuck with it.” Weir Weiss also aspires to follow in the footsteps of a role model, though hers isn’t an athlete, it’s Chris Hadfield. She’d like to become an astronaut, and finds that rowing has helped in that quest. “Your mental capacity is very important, as well as being in good shape,”
explains Weir Weiss, who trains out of Ottawa Rowing Club. “They go through many vigorous physical challenges, and I think rowing is the perfect training for that, as well as being able to deal with stressful situations and circumstances that can happen spontaneously, such as flipping over in the water.” Although the honour of being selected to Team Ontario still hasn’t quite sunk in yet for Weir Weiss, the anticipation for the meet is starting to build, with training for the Summer Games having started back in May. “I’m definitely a bit nervous,” signals Weir Weiss. “We’ve put in a lot of work so far so we’re really just going to give it everything we have. The whole team of course wants to do well, and we’re determined to medal.”
Best of Luck to Everyone at the Canada Summer Games! Cheering Proudly for our Participants from Kanata South: Philipe Turcanu CITY COUNCILLOR, GLOUCESTER - SOUTH NEPEAN
613-580-2751 firstname.lastname@example.org michaelqaqish.com @QaqishPolitico
canoe-kayak Mary-Jo Weir Weiss rowing Greg Kealey (coach) triathlon
Councillor Allan Hubley Ward 23 – Kanata South (613) 580-2752 Allan.Hubley@ottawa.ca
OTTAWA AT THE CANADA SUMMER GAMES Ottawa-brewed Ontario teammates choose different basketball paths By Martin Boyce Venturing off to Toronto alone is a daunting task for a 16-year-old. For Julia Chadwick, leaving her family behind in Ottawa to pursue elite-level basketball was challenging, but rewarding. A year after making that move to join the Durham Elite program in the newly-formed Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association, hard work is paying off for Chadwick. The former Nepean High School student is headed to the Canada Summer Games as a member of Team Ontario, and she’s also committed to Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh – two achievements that are the first steps to, maybe one day, joining the national team, she hopes. “It was really exciting to hear that I made the team,” Chadwick recalls. “I really love basketball and knowing that I’m successful in it – I’m just very proud to accomplish that.” Having her dad enroll her in competitive basketball in Grade 4 was the first domino to fall in her young, successful career. Chadwick wasn’t too familiar with the sport, despite her dad having played university ball himself, and she was one of the shorter girls. “I was kind of shorter and not a very good player back then,” laughs the 6’1”
wing player. “It’s funny because now I’m a lot taller and bigger and they called me ‘little Julia.’” Chadwick played for the Ottawa Shooting Stars club through Grade 8, then moved on to the Ottawa Nationals in the Junior Elite League of Ontario. She was sold on the idea of an easier routine in the new Ontario Scholastic league, and decided Durham would offer the best opportunity over studying in French at Louis-Riel high school, the only local option. “At times it was challenging, but I think, for the most part, it was a really good experience,” signals Chadwick, who found a host family from her new Durham team to house her for her remaining two years of high school. Durham Elite/Team Ontario coach Christa Eniojukan was a tremendous help as well, she adds. “I learned a lot on and off the court – a lot of life lessons,” the 16-year-old indicates. “But I think, without her support, I couldn’t have improved as much as I did.”
TEAMMATE STAYS HOME FOR OSBA AT LOUIS-RIEL Chadwick will have a familiar face from back home joining her in Winnipeg. Taylor Featherstone has been an opponent of hers
for 5 years, and they also played together for a year in JUEL Prep with the Nationals. Unlike Chadwick, Featherstone was lucky enough to already be enrolled at Louis-Riel and she speaks French, but says she’d never leave her coach, André Desjardins, anyway. “He has provided me with so many opportunities and has been there for me throughout my whole journey,” indicates the 17-year-old. “I would really miss his support.” Eight years of basketball, which started innocently enough from playing with her friend in gym class, led Featherstone to her first Team Ontario nomination last year. “I think last year is when I realized that I love this and I’m good at it and I want to pursue my career in it,” highlights Featherstone, who served as her team’s captain. Team Canada and varsity basketball are now amongst her long-term goals. “Get better every day and just keep striving,” adds the former Gloucester Wolverines player, noting she plans to keep working hard to achieve her dreams. “I know that they will come true if I keep pushing myself to the max.” Kingston’s Connor Vreeken, a member of the Canadian Youth Basketball League Showdown-champion Ottawa Elite club this season, will also compete for Team Ontario in the men’s division.
OTTAWA AT THE GAMES Bros. & beach mate on volley team By Martin Boyce Two brothers, and a third quasi-brother, are eager to take the volleyball world by storm at the 2017 Canada Summer Games with Team Ontario. Although Ethan Kalef isn’t Alexandre and Maxime StDenis’ biological brother, he’s developed such a relationship from 4 years of competing with and against them. “All three of us, we treat each other like brothers,” signals Kalef, Maxime’s beach volleyball partner of 3 years. “We try to bring everyone in as brothers and that’s actually part of our team chemistry.” The local trio all had fathers dedicated to the game, living and breathing volleyball as they grew up. “When I was first born, my dad gave me a volleyball,” recounts Kalef. “I still have it to this day in my bedroom.” By age 4, the future Ottawa Fusion player was already rallying and playing pepper with his father. Constant support from his dad, who accompanied him to all his high school games and beach volleyball tournaments, propelled Kalef to one of the top local players. “For him to put all that effort in and all that positive vibe, it really helped my success,” highlights the 5’9” libero who first cracked the Team Ontario lineup last year. “For me, it was a huge accomplishment making the team as an under-ager and as a small player. Small people aren’t really looked at as volleyball players.” Making the provincial team again this season was especially meaningful since it came in a
Alex St-Denis. Canada Games year. “It’s really a great honour to be on this team since there are only 14 athletes (from Ontario) going to this event,” underlines the Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School student headed into his senior year. Max St-Denis began playing volleyball competitively 6 years ago, but it was during his 15-and-under season with the Ottawa Mavericks that he realized he had a future in the sport. Coming into provincials ranked 10th, his team played with all their passion and heart to eventually win the tournament, he recalls. “I was really pumped,” adds Max, whose father Frank was their coach at the time. “That’s what made me think, ‘OK, I got a shot at this and I think I want to do this for the rest of my life.’”
ST-DENIS TO ST-DENIS A DEADLY PLAY Playing with his older brother for his entire career has been a treat, and sharing the Canada Games experience together will be a particularly unique opportunity, adds Max. While Alex enjoys the spotlight with the big left-side kills, setter Max is content making it
possible. “I like my position,” indicates the 6’1” 16-year-old. “It’s probably the most influential position to play because you get to touch the ball most often.” Though the St-Denis’ parents were beach volleyball partners, the fact that their kids play different positions wasn’t part of their master plan. Max and Alex would like to replicate what their father has achieved as a coach – being part of the men’s national team program. “That’s been my dream since I started playing volleyball,” states Alex, headed to CEGEP de l’Outaouais before a planned university volleyball career in the Quebec conference. “But if I don’t accomplish that, I’d like to give back to the community.” Teammates and OFSAA champions under their father’s watch at Louis-Riel high school, the St-Denis bros tell a similar tale to Kalef’s when it comes to their roots in the sport. “We all pretty much experienced the same thing,” Alex notes. “The first time I touched a volleyball was when I was a little kid.” Having played together for many years, the pair have developed a sort of “psychic connection” on the court. “It’s a cool thing because not every brothers get a chance to play on the same team, especially on a provincial team,” underlines Alex, this year’s Ken Davies Memorial Award recipient as the male player who best demonstrates determination, leadership, athletic ability, sportsmanship and fair play in all of Ontario. “This is a huge honour and accomplishment for our family.”
Congratulations to our local athletes for reaching the 2017 Canada Summer Games! Best wishes to all! Félicitations à tous nos athlètes de la région pour vos nominations aux Jeux du Canada de 2017 ! Bonne chance à tous !
Jody Mitic City Councillor Conseiller municipal Quartier Innes Ward (613) 580-2472 Jody.Mitic@ottawa.ca www.jodymitic.ca
Bob Monette City Councillor Conseiller municipal Quartier Orléans Ward (613) 580-2471 Bob.Monette@ottawa.ca www.bobmonette.ca
Rockin’ Rebelles Wrap
Class of ’17 poised to follow the lead of past Louis-Riel grads
The 2016-2017 school year is in the books, and with it comes another great generation of studentathletes completing their time with Louis-Riel high school’s sports-études program. As the class of ’17 moves onto the next stage in their lives, they can draw inspiration from a number of recent Louis-Riel grads who are doing big things locally and on other frontiers. Some notable grads include: Arielle Kabangu (’12): The former Rebelles OFSAA champion wrapped up a sparkling NCAA soccer career with the St. Leo Lions last year, leaving as the Florida school’s all-time leading scorer. The sports business grad is now the #2 scorer in League1 Ontario for the West Ottawa Warriors. Kellie Ring (’11): Another past OFSAA champion (in basketball), Kellie represented Canada at the 2011 Pan Am Games and won a Canadian university national bronze medal with the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees. She played her final year with the Ryerson Rams while studying for a digital media masters degree, and then joined the Canadian Olympic Committee’s communications team. Catherine Traer (’12): A teammate of Ring’s at uOttawa for three seasons (and also with the Rebelles’ OFSAA-champion team), Catherine moved on to Carleton University and led the Ravens women’s basketball team to the first national medal in
program history this past season. She earned Canadian championship tournament all-star honours and is now set to represent Canada-Québec at the 2017 Jeux de la Francophonie in Ivory Coast this summer. Erik Gudbranson (’10): Drafted third overall by the Florida Panthers in 2010 not long after finishing high school, the dependable, physical defenceman is now in his sixth NHL season with the Vancouver Canucks. His younger brother, Alex (’12), continues to make his living as a pro hockey player as well, playing most recently with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. Kimiko Marinacci (’15): A winner of four OFSAA girls’ hockey medals in four years, Kimiko is now a key player for one of the powerhouses in NCAA women’s hockey, the Princeton Tigers. And the tradition of excellence continues this year, with a number of grads headed on to the next level in the sports world, including Team Canada soccer player Jonathan David, future Nipissing Lakers basketball forward David Quinn, McMaster Marauders volleyball prospect Sabrina Roy, and Gabriel Cinanni, headed to Berkshire School on a soccer scholarship. “It’s always a bit sad to say goodbye to each graduating class since we will no longer see them on a day-to-day basis, but our staff is always really happy that whenever they’re home, they come and visit, or even train with us at the Dome,” says sports-études director Ken Levesque. “We have saying, ‘Once a Rebelle, Always a Rebelle,’ and the fact that our grads come back shows the pride they take in being a Rebelle, for life.”
Une tradition d’excellence parmi les finissants et finissantes à L-R
Louis-Riel semblent suivre l’exemple de ceux de l’an dernier. L’année scolaire 2016-2017 est terminée et une autre belle génération d’élèves athlètes terminent leur programme sports-études à l’école Louis-Riel. Au moment où les finissants et finissantes de la cohorte de 2017 entament la prochaine étape dans leur vie, ils peuvent puiser leur inspiration auprès de nombreux finissants de Louis-Riel récents qui accomplissent de grandes choses localement ou ailleurs. Voici quelques diplômés et diplômées qui se sont démarqués: Arielle Kabangu (2012): L’ancienne championne de soccer de la OFSAA s’est forgé une carrière brillante en soccer dans la NCAA avec les Lions de St. Leo, ayant établi le meilleur score de l’histoire de cet établissement situé en Floride, et diplômée en sports et en gestion des affaires. Kellie Ring (2011): Une autre ancienne championne de l’OFSAA (en basketball), Kellie a représenté le Canada aux Jeux panaméricains de 2011 et a remporté une médaille de bronze universitaire canadienne avec les Gee-Gees de l’Université d’Ottawa. Elle a terminé sa carrière universitaire avec les Rams de Ryerson tout en poursuivant une
maîtrise en médias numériques, puis a rejoint l’équipe des communications du Comité olympique canadien. Catherine Traer (2012): D’abord coéquipière de Ring à l’Université d’Ottawa pendant trois saisons (et aussi membre de l’équipe championne de l’OFSAA, les Rebelles), Catherine est ensuite passée à l’Université Carleton et, la dernière saison, a mené l’équipe féminine de basketball, les Ravens, à une première médaille nationale dans l’histoire du programme. Elle est maintenant prête pour représenter le Canada-Québec aux Jeux de la Francophonie de 2017 en Côte d’Ivoire. Erik Gudbranson (2010): Sélectionné au 3e rang par les Panthers de la Floride en 2010, peu de temps après avoir terminé ses études secondaires, le défenseur fiable et robuste en est maintenant à sa sixième saison dans la LNH avec les Canucks de Vancouver. Alex, son frère cadet (2012), continue également de gagner sa vie en tant que joueur de hockey professionnel, jouant le plus récemment pour les Marlies de Toronto. Kimiko Marinacci (2015): Gagnante de quatre médailles de hockey féminin de l’OFSAA en quatre ans, Kimiko est maintenant une joueuse clé dans l’une des
puissantes équipes de hockey féminin au sein de la NCAA, les Tigres de Princeton. La tradition d’excellence se poursuit cette année, avec un certain nombre de diplômés et de diplômées en route vers le prochain niveau dans le monde du sport, y compris Jonathan David, joueur de soccer de l’équipe nationale masculine du Canada et, au basketball, le futur ailier des Lakers de Nipissing, David Quinn, le nouvel espoir des Marauders de McMaster, Sabrina Roy, au volley-ball, ainsi que Gabriel Cinanni, récipient d’une bourse pour l’école préparatoire Berkshire. « C’est toujours un peu triste de devoir dire au revoir aux finissants et finissantes chaque année, étant donné qu’on ne les verra plus sur une base quotidienne. Mais le personnel sera toujours heureux de les voir revenir faire un tour, ou même s’entraîner avec nous au Dôme, lorsqu’ils seront dans les environs, confie le directeur du programme sports-études, Ken Levesque. Comme on dit, «Rebelle un jour, Rebelle toujours» et le fait que nos anciens étudiants reviennent nous voir témoigne de leur fierté d’être des Rebelles pour la vie. »
OTTAWA AT THE CANADA SUMMER GAMES Volleyball player pledges to go for gold in honour of injured teammate
By Martin Boyce Heartbreak has struck Team Ontario volleyball player Mia Workman. A suspected torn ACL will prevent the Ottawa Mavericks Volleyball Club athlete from playing in the Canada Games, a goal she’s been chasing for 3 years. In her provincial team’s first exhibition match, a routine play jumping for the ball took a turn for the worst as Workman landed awkwardly. She immediately knew something terrible had happened. “I was confused and I was scared because I knew it wasn’t good,” recounts the 18-year-old right-side player. “Right away, I knew I wasn’t going to be on the court for a while.” The injury will effectively mark the end of an up-and-down final season before she heads off for university. “I wanted everything to go perfectly but not everything did. We had a lot of lows, and we had a lot of highs,” reflects the University of Toronto-bound player who was named an Ontario all-
star as her 9th-seeded Mavs team won a provincial silver medal thanks to several big upsets. Signing with the U of T Varsity Blues was a major highlight for the Quest for Gold provincially-carded athlete, but earning her spot on Team Ontario for the Canada Games took the cake. “It’s huge,” underlines the Glebe Collegiate Institute grad. “Being named is definitely one of the biggest things I’ve ever achieved.” A volleyball player since age 11, Workman has dreams of one day playing for the national team, though for the moment she remains focused on rehabbing her injury and having a strong impact in varsity volleyball. She and Ontario teammate Ella Stewart both credit their club coach, Judi Mousseau, for providing them with the tough love and support that buoyed them during challenging times on and off the court. Stewart recalls suffering a concussion during her 16U season that left her doubting she’d ever playing
Ella Stewart (left) & Mia Workman.
again. “Although she was really tough on me, she made me realize how important volleyball is to me,” the 17-yearold says of Mousseau. “She helped me reach a whole new level and she never gave up on me.” Stewart began playing the sport she now loves after being recruited – for her height – to the Glashan Public School volleyball team in Grade 7.
Quickly developing as a strong middle blocker, she attended a 16U high-performance camp as under-ager, eventually making it into that program on her second try. “I realized I’m one in 12 girls in Ontario that made that team,” she recalls, underlining it was then that she, for the first time, saw volleyball as her future. “That was just so eye-opening and amazing and made me realize
how high up there I am.” Stewart savours the opportunity to play for Team Ontario, fully appreciating that it’s the kind of thing many others in the world can only dream of. Inspired by her gender studies class, the Grade 12 Glebe student fundraised to help a charity keep an 8-year-old from Niger avoid the arranged marriage 76% of girls in her country are forced into. “We see it on the news and on social media that there are people out there that need our help,” explains Stewart. “I want to actually go straight to the issue and work really hard to help fix that issue.” Back on the court, this year, again as an under-ager, she made the team heading to the Canada Games. Stewart says the team will strive to win the gold in Workman’s honour. “Our team, of course, will miss her, but we have to bounce back,” indicates the 6’0” middle. “As a team, we have to work hard without her and we’ll do it for her since she won’t be with us.”
CANADA GAMES TRACK: CANI girls were far from the top at OFSAA, but hit their stride in recent years continued from Cover Lafleur also couldn’t be bothered to try track-and-field; the Franco-Cité high school student was having too much fun playing just about every other sport. “When track season came along, I had pretty good jumps from basketball and volleyball, so one of the trackers took me in from – what was it, touch football practice? – and said, ‘Come high jump,’” he recalls. Amoi, meanwhile, once dreamed of being a world-class ballerina. She wasn’t sold on track-and-field as a serious pursuit either, though it wasn’t as difficult to convince her to get out and run around a bit. “I got into track-and-field – I want to be honest with you – because in high school, you could miss a lot of days of school,” admits the Lycée Claudel grad, now studying commerce at the
University of Toronto. But she loved long jump the moment she first tried it at the suggestion of Lotfi Khaida, who remains her coach now, 5 years later. “It started as something really fun to do, and I kept with it,” adds Amoi. For the CANI girls, they improved slowly. Their high school results didn’t necessarily suggest they’d be on the path to Canada Games – Maxwell missed the OFSAA 100 m final in her senior year, while Amoi was 18th and 20th in OFSAA triple and long jump at the same stage. But they stuck with it and enjoyed swift improvements in recent years – Maxwell thanks to increased focus and attention to detail, and Amoi since starting to train 6 days a week at U of T and learning patience and persistence while dealing with injuries. Competing against Canada’s best at the senior level at nationals, Maxwell was 5th in the women’s 200 m and Amoi 9th in long jump. Lafleur was a bit different. The 6’1” high jumper found success quite quickly – clearing 1.95 m as a Grade 11 student – so his improvements have been more gradual in recent seasons.
photo: steve kingsman “Every year, even this year, I’ve been able to increase on my height with my coach,” signals Lafleur, who decided to stay in town and study at Algonquin College instead of pursuing opportunities elsewhere. “I always had a saying: you don’t mess
with what works.” They’ve shared similar paths in their sport, and now the close clubmates are thrilled for the chance to experience Canada Games together. “CANI is like a family,” Lafleur underlines. “It’s like hav-
ing my sisters with me. They will keep me in check, I’ll keep them in check, and hopefully we will help each other out the day of competition to all come back with gold medals.” The Canada Games features over 4,000 participants from each province and territory across 16 sports, and provides an exceptional developmental opportunity, says CANI head coach Lyndon George, whose club has sent 3 athletes to back-to-back Canada Games. “It prepares them for the next level, which is World Champs, or Pan Am Games, or hopefully the Olympics down the road,” signals George, noting athletes have the chance to meet teammates from different parts of Ontario as well as athletes from across Canada, experience what an Olympic Village is like, and compete in front of a crowd at a big competition. “We feel very good about representing Ottawa,” George adds. “We’ve always felt that Ottawa is a great sports community.” A pair of Ottawa Lions Track-and-Field Club products now wearing the colours of their universities’ clubs will also race at Canada Games. Ashbury College grad Lindsay Brandys ran under 12 seconds to place 11th in the
senior women’s 100 m at nationals and missed the 200 m final by just one spot. She now competes for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, a former Varsity Blues soccer player. The University of Guelph’s Shyvonne Roxborough, who now sports Speed River track club colours, was one of the star local performers at nationals. A soccer player once upon a time – “I was only good because I was fast,” cracks the South Carleton High School grad – Roxborough got an invite for a trial with the Lions after taking part in a school race she did only for fun. Fast forward a few years and Roxborough is the Canadian U20 champion in the 100 m and 4x100 m, bronze medallist in the 200 m, and a member of both Team Ontario for the Canada Games and Team Canada for the July 21-23 Pan American Junior Track-andField Championships in Peru (where she won a 4x100 m relay bronze). “I have more in me,” cautions the athlete who set a personal-best time of 11.68 seconds at nationals. —with files from Charlotte van Walraven
OTTAWA AT THE CANADA SUMMER GAMES
Repeat Canada Games able-sail athlete doubles as sport builder By Martin Boyce Gone with the wind are Paralympic Games sailing hopes for Aaron Wong-Sing, but in with the tide are aspirations of growing the sport he loves. The 41-year-old soon-to-be Canada Games veteran is focused on providing other athletes with opportunities they might not otherwise have in the sport. Wong-Sing has been sailing every summer since coming to Ottawa in 2005 from Vancouver, where he sailed leisurely but didn’t have time to take up lessons. At first, it was a challenge to learn the workings of the sport, but he says did eventually pick it up fairly quickly. As an athlete with cerebral palsy, it took lots of practice to coordinate all the maneuvers while also focusing on strategy. When Wong-Sing moved from the Martin 16 boat to the 2.4 mR boat – a much more physical class – he began a fitness program with a per-
sonal trainer to increase his strength and stamina. Quickly, he became a top 2.4 mR sailor. Eight years after starting lessons, the Nepean Sailing Club athlete was selected to represent Ontario at the Sherbrooke 2013 Canada Summer Games. With a bronze medal from the event, he says
Past East Nepean Little League World Series pitcher eager for return to top national stage By Martin Boyce Handling the pressure and excitement of representing his province will be nothing new for Angus Adams come the 2017 Canada Summer Games. A past Canadian champion with the East Nepean Eagles, the 2013 Little League World Series competitor is excited to relive some of his best baseball memories. “This is probably the biggest thing I’ve done in a long time,” reflects the 17-year-old pitcher who also plays the outfield for the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians. “I was very proud of the accomplishment and I’m glad I’m going to get to represent Ontario at such a stage.” Adams played his first Little League game at age 7. Fortunate enough to play for a strong team in the perfect age group, he was the starting pitcher for East Nepean in the national final as they earned the right to play as Team Canada in storied Williamsport, PA. “It was truly a breathtaking experience,” recalls Adams, who cranked 2 home runs and started games against Taiwan and Panama during the tournament. “Not only do you get to see all the different baseball, but you get to see a bit of the different cultures. It’s really a once-in-alifetime thing.” With all the time on the road in 2013, Adams managed to memorize all the rosters and positions for each Major League Baseball team, to the delight of Washington Post reporters who eagerly gave him a pop quiz. “Don’t ask me to do it now however,” he quips in his Canada Games bio. While Adams doesn’t think of himself as an overpowering pitcher, he says he believes he can out-smart hitters by mixing his pitches well. When he isn’t on the mound, Adams says he good all-around, but speed is the defining aspect of his game. Headed into his senior year, the Longfields-
his first Games provided a memory he won’t soon forget. “My 2013 experience was really about enjoying the diverse range of athletes from all the different sports,” signals Wong-Sing, who is targeting a repeat trip to the podium this year, though he says it’s no guarantee since, despite the small number of athletes in the sport, all are very talented. “I’m preparing for the games and hoping for a good result,” adds the Queen’s University grad. “I think it’s an incredible opportunity to sail and represent Ontario.” The full-time federal government employee says it can be a challenge to balance his work with Public Services and Procurement Canada
alongside training and travel for competitions, but he doesn’t let it get in the way of doing what he loves. With sailing removed from the 2020 Paralympic programme, Wong-Sing understands it’s unlikely he will ever have the opportunity to compete at Paralympic Games. “I just want to improve in the sport and also develop the sport for future athletes,” underlines the volunteer president of the National Capital Able Sail Association, which hosts an annual regatta at NSC and fundraises for sailors who need bursaries to travel. “Sailing is a great sport for people with disabilities because it’s a truly integrated sport,” adds Wong-Sing, highlighting the wide variety of disabilities suitable for sailing. Wong-Sing credits those who came before him for developing the sport’s solid presence locally, along with the association’s long-standing partnership with the Nepean Sailing Club, which built an accessible dock to allow sailors with disabilities to easily come down and get into their boats. While he plans to compete as long as he can, continuing this legacy is Wong-Sing’s ultimate goal. “I want to encourage other people that may not be aware of sailing and introducing them to the sport,” he states. “And have the sport help them increase their physical and emotional wellbeing.”
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Davidson Heights Secondary School student is focused on “getting better everyday” and eventually playing university baseball stateside or in Canada while ensuring he can pursue whatever degree he wants on top of playing the game he loves. Adams says his father’s support and wisdom on the sport has helped him stay grounded through the trying times. “It’s a sport of failure. When stuff hasn’t been going great, my dad’s always been there to remind me that I play this sport for fun,” explains the 6’1” right-hander. “He always tells me, ‘If it ended today, it wouldn’t matter at all because you’ve already accomplished all you wanted to.’”
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OTTAWA AT THE CANADA SUMMER GAMES One-time rivals in top youth soccer league link up for Canada Games By Dan Plouffe It won’t be the first time Haider Kadhom represents Team Ontario in interprovincial competition, but the 17-yearold midfielder says it’ll be different this time around for the Canada Summer Games. “It’ll be really exciting to go there and live the experience,” states Kadhom, who is perhaps more accustomed to a multi-sport environment than most soccer players; he owns a black belt in taekwondo. “But I’ve never been a part of something like this before,” adds the veteran of
two Ontario vs Quebec soccer series events. “It’s really, really exciting.” The Canada Games will be all that much more special for Kadhom since he’ll have long-time teammate Montther Mohsen at his side wearing the trillium. The pair have played together since their under-12 season with the Gloucester Hornets. They won an Ontario Youth Soccer League east division title in 2015 at Gloucester before competing in the Ottawa Carleton Soccer League’s men’s premiere division for the past 2 seasons with the Ottawa Internationals.
Good luck to all athletes heading to the Canada Games!
“It’s amazing,” smiles Kadhom. “It’s always better to go with someone you know. We have good chemistry on the field. We’ve played with each other for awhile, so we know what we’re doing together. And off the field, he’s a close friend as well.” The Internationals pals will be joined by another local pair with a long history together – future Carleton Raven Ricky Comba and Tony Mikhael, who chose to wear #38 because he was the 38th of 111 cousins in his close-knit family. Comba and Mikhael began their competitive careers with the Nepean Hotspurs before moving on to the Ottawa South United Force, where they experienced a number of tough battles with Kadhom and Mohsen when OSU and Gloucester were neck-and-neck for top spot in the OYSL. “It’s really nice playing with them,” signals Kadhom, noting they put aside the fact that they were once enemies on the field when they represent their
Ricky Comba (left) & Haider Kadom.
province. If anything, Comba and Mikhael are allies in the quest to snatch Team Ontario spots for players outside the GTA. “It shows there progress we’ve made in the city,” underlines Kadhom, set to enter his senior year as a member of Louis-Riel high school’s sportsétudes soccer academy. “If anything, I think there could be more (players from Ottawa), but it certainly shows the steps
we’ve taken to close the gap between us and Toronto.” The local quartet’s age group also features several other Ottawa players who are now part of professional academies elsewhere in Canada, while the biggest star of the bunch, Kadhom’s Internationals teammate Jonathan David, is a Canadian youth national team player who recently graduated from Louis-Riel high school and joined a Belgian pro
club. “When you see guys reaching different levels, it motivates you to push your own limits as well,” indicates Kadhom, who was nursing an ankle injury prior to Canada Games but still sought to play as big a role as possible for his team (which competes in the second week of the Games). “I want to hopefully play as much as I can and win the tournament for Ontario.”
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OTTAWA AT THE GAMES Past Ontario soccer mates reunite Emily Amano, Ariel Young & Mollie Eriksson.
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By Dan Plouffe Two summers ago, Ariel Young, Emily Amano, Mollie Eriksson and Olivia Cooke all threw their red Team Ontario jackets over their Ottawa South United Force gear to celebrate the players from their club who’d been part of the provincial soccer program. A year later, Kayza Massey joined the crew in blue as one of the first to move from the Gloucester Hornets onto an OSU Ontario Player Development League team under the clubs’ affiliation agreement. The players’ paths have scattered all kinds of different directions since then, but the local quintet will be reunited when they compete for Team Ontario at the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg. “It’s great,” signals Amano, who, once upon a time, scored the game-winning goal to secure the U13 Ontario Cup title for OSU alongside several current Ontario teammates. “I think it’s really good representation for Ottawa, and it shows that not all talented players are from Toronto.”
Young, who will be competing in her mother’s hometown at Canada Games, is the youngest member of the bunch at age 15 on the under-18 team. The Ottawa Fury FC girls’ elite program member recently made her international debut for the Canadian U17 women’s team in China from July 12-16 in a four nations event with USA, Japan and the tournament hosts. With a pair of Ottawa goalkeepers guarding the Ontario box, Eriksson and Massey combine to create a formidable Department of International Defence. Eriksson, born in Sweden, and Massey, adopted from Ghana, have both played for their birth countries internationally. Massey shocked the soccer world last fall when she and the Ghanaians knocked off USA en route to a quarter-final appearance in the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup. Before competing for Sweden in summer 2016 UEFA events, Eriksson wore Canadian colours at the Danone Nations Cup. She held the distinction of being the only female goalkeeper to ever play in the global
tournament for players age 1012 (though that’s set to change this year with the addition of a girls’ division). The 17-year-old is now the #1 goalkeeper for the West Ottawa Warriors’ new Ontario League1 entry alongside fellow Greely resident Olivia Cooke. Cooke, 16, is 2nd in team scoring despite missing nearly as many games as she’s played. Set to play NCAA soccer at the University of South Florida come 2018, Cooke is the middle of three soccer siblings who’ve all played in the top youth provincial leagues. Their mother was a 3-time Canadian alpine ski champion. Amano, currently a member of OSU’s 1st-place U17 Ontario Youth Soccer League team, says there remains a family feel amongst the Ottawa crew. “We all get along really well. We all share the same passion towards soccer,” underlines Amano, headed into her senior year at Ashbury College this fall. “(Making it to Canada Games) is a great achievement. But the fact that I have some people I’ve known along the way for so many years makes it a lot better.”
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BYTOWN STORM BULLETIN
– ELITE –
Storm club a leader in building sport locally & beyond
Home course crown for resurgent Brown
Well-known for offering comprehensive programs that allow athletes to reach the global stage, the Bytown Storm Triathlon Club has also built Host Club of the Ottawa a reputation as a International Triathlon force for developing the sport from the grassroots through the provincial, national and international levels. The club has earned its share of glory over the years. Recently-crowned national champion Joanna Brown – Canada’s lone representative for September’s ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in the Netherlands – launched her international career as a youth with the Bytown Storm. And Sam Klus was recently in the Netherlands as well, holding tight with some of the world’s best at a European Cup event on Canada Day. But a great deal of the club’s efforts over many years has been devoted to creating the environments to make those performances possible.
CANADA GAMES COACH FOCUSED ON LONG-TERM DEVELOPMENT A major piece of puzzle is having the necessary technical knowledge and expertise, and that starts with Storm Head Coach Greg Kealey, who has traveled to many points across the globe and worked alongside many of the world’s best triathlon minds. The past Triathlon Canada Elite Coach of the Year guides his athletes with the philosophy of “performance through process” and ensures that the commitment to long-term development remains at the forefront at all times. An example of those principles was on display at the recent Storm-hosted Stittsville Kids of Steel event, which drew over 100 participants to the Goulbourn Recreation Complex on July 16. Alongside single short-distance races for younger age groups, 14- to 18-year-old athletes took part in Ontario’s first-ever “grand prix” style races, which Kealey had seen employed with great effectiveness in Europe. Instead of a full sprint or standard-distance race, the athletes completed three races comprising a 200-metre swim, 4 km bike and 1,200 m run on the same day. The format helps teach athletes key lessons about distraction control and recovery, and most importantly, work on their speed. “What we want them to do more as they move through that pathway is get fast first and then work on their fitness,” explains Kealey, set to coach Team Ontario at the 2017 Canada Summer
Games in Winnipeg. “Past Kids of Steel, that tends to be a problem. At the higher level, they’re against really fast people, and they may be really fit, but they haven’t developed speed.”
LAST LOCAL 2017 KIDS OF STEEL RACE GOES AUG. 20 IN DUNROBIN The Stittsville event was the first of three Kids of Steel competitions organized by the Storm this season, with the last in the series set for Aug. 20 in Dunrobin. Held at one of the most picturesque nature settings possible out of the Bonnenfant YMCA-YWCA Outdoor Education and Leadership Centre, the Dunrobin KoS has become one of the most popular events in Ontario. It’s back after a one-year hiatus, which was the product of Storm volunteers needing to devote their energy to putting on an even bigger competition, the Ottawa International Triathlon. That event has become a major destination as well, drawing many of the best triathletes from the continent and overseas for its CAMTRI Premium America’s Continental Cup. The Storm club is the motor powering that big race opportunity at the elite level, but it all starts in the Storm Troopers program, which focuses on play and a variety of activities from age 8. “Our program goes beyond medals and podium finishes, we work hard to develop better people through sport,” explains Kealey, underlining skills learned for goal-setting, time management, tracking and reporting, human physiology and mental strength. “Our whole club is really passionate about developing skills and getting kids excited about being active.”
Bytown Storm Kids of Steel Triathlon Series Dunrobin • August 20
photo: martin boyce
By Martin Boyce Minutes ahead of most of the elite women’s field at the Canadian Triathlon Championships, Carp native Joanna Brown waved to her hometown crowd, high-fived spectators down the finishing straight, crossed the line and lifted the finish banner high over her head, a grin plastered on her face. “I love racing here,” said a smiling Brown afterwards, healthy and resurgent from years of injury and health troubles. “This last stretch here on the run was crazy. I’m just so happy to have my parents here and my family and lots of people I know. It was amazing.” Neck and neck with Paula Findley for most of the June 18 race at Dow’s Lake, Brown opened up a 30-second gap over the Olympian on the last lap of the run and strutted to victory. “It was so hard, but I’m really really happy with it,” signalled the 24-year-old All Saints Catholic High School grad. “It went so smoothly and it was perfectly executed.” Officially crowned queen of the Canadian triathlon world, Brown was later named Canada’s sole representative for the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in the Netherlands the product of her pair of World Cup medals earlier this season in New Zealand and Italy. “My confidence has been building every race,” highlighted the University of Guelph grad
who is now based in Victoria, B.C. “I’ve been pretty happy with the season I’ve had so far so I was just trying to continue the trend and have another strong race.”
5TH WITH CANADA AT NEW TRIATHLON MIXED RELAY WORLDS Brown went on to help Canada to a 5th-place finish at the Mixed Relay World Championships (set to debut as Olympic event in 2020) on July 16 in Germany. She’d tagged off to Gatineau’s Alexis Lepage for the final leg in 2nd place, but Lepage’s bike crash elimated his advantage over the chasers for the podium. “This is a good result for a really young team and demonstrates our potential,” Brown said in a Triathlon Canada media release. “Everyone gave it everything we had and I am just so proud of how we handled ourselves as a team.” Samantha Klus, representing Brown’s club in her youth years, the Bytown Storm, was the next-best local finisher in 27th. “It was definitely under what I was capable of, which is super disappointing considering it’s a home crowd,” indicated the 22-year-old who has pledged to focus on process over results this season.
TEENAGED TRIATHLETES TICKLED TO RACE WITH TOP CANADIAN STARS On Klus’ tail in 29th was Glebe Collegiate Institute stu-
dent Teagan Shapansky, who qualified for the second-day “A” final following first-day qualifiers (a new Canadian Championships format featuring shorter races). The 16-year-old was the youngest competitor in the race that also featured several of North America’s best triathletes in the CAMTRI series event and received some of the loudest cheers from the Ottawa crowd. Racing against Canada’s best was a dream come true, she says. “I was with Paula Findley – that’s crazy,” Shapansky marvelled. “I never thought I’d be racing against her as a firstyear junior.” The Ottawa International Triathlon featured 7 events over the course of the weekend, varying from elite competition to age group masters and Kids of Steel. Storm triathlete Jamie Hall, who also competed in the combined junior/senior elite category, had a front-row view of the behind-the-scenes effort required to put on the show, with the parents in her club handling the bulk of the load. “It’s a lot of work,” underlines the 16-year-old Nepean High School student. “Between getting all those volunteers, setting up all the transition zones, equipment, signs, having everything according the rules, and getting the city to agree to all the road blocks, it takes a lot.” –with files from Dan Plouffe
Redemption win for Dal-Cin after crash cost him 2016 cycling title By Martin Boyce Barreling around the final corner, haunting memories of last year’s wicked crash flashing through his mind, Ottawa native Matteo Dal-Cin laid off the gas for a moment in the turn, then hit the pedals full tilt down the final stretch to sprint to victory in the Global Relay Canadian Road Cycling Championships elite men’s road race in front of a hometown crowd on June 25 at Tunney’s Pasture. “(The title) came as a big surprise, but it’s a pretty amazing experience,” smiles Dal-Cin, whose family and friends were scattered along the course. “And it was really cool to win at home.” Last year, the 26-year-old found himself in the same position – one of the first two riders to round the final corner – but the result was the polar opposite. Dal-Cin’s speed was too fast to handle in the turn, and he wound up making a trip to the hospital after surrendering a fair bit of his uniform and skin to the pavement in a hard crash. “You’re going in and you’re taking a deep breath trying to put that out of your mind,” recounts the Rally Cycling pro rider, noting he let his rival dictate the level of risk in the final bend, unlike last year. “That was definitely a little bit of a flashback coming into it,” he signals. “When I got through, it was a big sigh of relief. I made it through, but I still have to race for the win, but at least the dangerous part is done.” The national gold medal should ensure DalCin’s participation in the Sept. 16-24 UCI Road
Matteo Dal-Cin – 2017 on left & 2016 on right.
photo: martin boyce
World Championships in Norway to cap what has already been a solid season for the Nepean High School grad. Amongst the highlights was following in the pedal-strokes of fellow Ottawa native Mike Woods, now a World Tour rider for Cannondale-Drapac, to win the Mont-Mégantic stage of the Tour de Beauce. Dal-Cin’s goal for the rest of the season is “just trying to have fun while I’m racing, be a good teammate, and do the best I can, and hopefully that’s what one of those [professional] teams is looking for,” he explains. “That’s the dream – to get to the pinnacle of the sport and see how far I
photo: steve kingsman
could go with it.”
OTTAWA RICH IN YOUNG BIKE TALENT Competing on the women’s side, Ottawa’s Emily Flynn raced a very team-oriented nationals, playing a key role in Cyclery 4iiii counterpart Ariane Bonhomme’s criterium win in the under-23 class. This season marks the most racing 24-yearold Flynn has done in a year. “I’m really happy with how it’s been,” notes the member of the 2016 Ottawa Sports Awards female team of the year. “I’ve made steps each year and, although sometimes they’re baby steps,
they’re still steps.” Team RaceClean rider Derek Gee of Osgoode had his best race of the nationals during the crit, finishing 2nd in the men’s U23 category, preceded by a U23 6th in the road race and U23 5th in the time trial. The 19-year-old Ottawa Bicycle Club product has spent most of his season racing on the track, highlighted by an appearance as a member of Canada’s endurance team at April’s UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong. “They were an amazing experience,” recounts Gee. “It was really cool to see the top in the world and to see what it takes to get to the next level.”
Double-Pan Am bronze for local Team Canada water polo players By Dan Plouffe Local water polo players Bogdan Djerkovic, Diego Gonzalez and Valeria Rojas won bronze medals from the 17U Pan American Championships and qualified Canada for next summer’s FINA Youth World Championships thanks to their performances at the June 29-July 9 event in Peru. Djerkovic, who will soon also compete alongside Ottawa Titans teammate Aleksa Gardijan at the Junior World Championships Aug. 5-13 in Serbia, was the hero in the Canadian men’s bronze medal match, completing his hat trick for the game-winning goal with just over a minute left to play in a 13-12 victory over Colombia. Djerkovic totalled 13 goals in 6 games at the Pan Ams, while Gonzalez scored 4 times. Taking part in the tournament in his hometown of Lima, Capital Wave club head coach Celso Rojas also celebrated the bronze medal win as an assistant for the men’s team, while his daughter Valeria scored a matching bronze from the women’s competition. Valeria counted 15 goals in 8 games for the Canadians, who dom-
“Michel brings over 30 years of professional coaching experience to Capital Wave and he cannot wait to increase the water polo level in the National Capital Region,” the club noted in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Michel to our Capital Wave coaching staff and family!”
GAUDREAULT INTO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS FINAL-4
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inated all opponents except for the gold and silver medallists from USA and Brazil. Following a 10-9 semi-final defeat to Brazil, Canada rebounded to trounce Argentina 17-6 for bronze. “The girls showed a lot of character coming back and playing this way after a disappointing semi,” Team Canada head coach Dan Bekhazi,
who coached for Capital Wave locally in 2015, said in a media release. “Overall this tournament was a great learning experience for the girls. They learnt about playing a physical type of style and competing until the end. They showed a lot of resilience, which made the coaching staff proud. They were also able to live and learn about
what being an elite athlete truly is, inside and outside of the pool.” The Wave also made a big addition to their coaching staff last month, hiring Michel Roy, who’s coached 8 Olympians during his career and is the only Canadian to have coached both the senior men’s and women’s national teams.
Fresh off a World League silver medal, goalkeeper Jessica Gaudreault and the Canadian senior women’s water polo team kept up their hot pace at the July 14-30 FINA World Championships in Hungary. The Canadians lost their tournament-opener 10-4 to Italy, but rediscovered their form quickly to beat China 9-8 and Brazil 16-6 to advance to the playoff round where they trounced New Zealand 16-3 and got past the host Hungarians 6-4 to book their place in the July 26 semi-final. Ottawa native Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson earned a career-best result on the global senior swimming stage with an 11th-place finish in the women’s 200-metre individual medley on July 23.
CANADIAN TRACK-AND-FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS SPECIAL Massive local crew earn Team Canada berths at home track nats
By Charlotte van Walraven July 8 must have been a sleepy night in Eganville, or rather, even sleepier than usual. That was the evening the Melissa Bishop bandwagon from the Ottawa Valley took over the stands at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility with red-and-white “Melissa” T-shirts, cheering loud and proud as the hometown superstar of the 2017 Canadian Track-and-Field Championships waltzed to victory in the women’s 800 m. By her standards, the 2:00.26 clocking was a walk in the park (though still over 3.5 seconds better than anyone else), but it was still time to celebrate the capital’s unquestioned queen for the day – the only athlete asked to do a victory lap during the July 3-9 Championships. “It’s nice to run at home,” underlines Bishop, the IAAF 2015 World Championships silver medallist and 4th-place finisher at the Rio 2016 Olympics. “I haven’t been home in a long time to run, and to have my family and my friends here – they’ve been beside me through this entire career, even before I was an Olympian, so it means a lot.” The 27-year-old member of the host Ottawa Lions Track-and-Field Club was back blazing come a July 21 Diamond League meet in Monaco, where she improved her Canadian record to 1:57.01. After struggling a bit to find motivation this past fall because she’d performed her absolute best in Rio but didn’t get her desired medal, Bishop says she feels stronger than ever and is eager to return to the podium come the Aug. 4-13 World Championships in London, UK. “It’s addicting,” the 2015 Ottawa Sports Awards female athlete of the year says of success on the international scene. “You want it all the time once you start doing well.” Bishop is one of roughly 2 dozen
photos: martin boyce
photo: steve kingsman Ottawa Lion Melissa Bishop (centre) will race at World Championships and Orleans native Rachel Aubry at FISU Games. local athletes to represent Canada internationally this summer, at competitions such as the Jeux de la Francophonie (July 21-30 in Ivory Coast), the FISU world student Games (Aug. 19-30 in Taiwan), the World Para Athletics Championships (July 14-23 in London, UK), the World Junior Para Athletics Championships (Aug. 3-6 in Switzerland) and the Pan American Junior Track-and-Field Championships (July 21-23 in Peru).
TIM NEDOW Joining Bishop on the grandest stage of the bunch for the worlds in London, England will be fellow Ottawa Lion Tim Nedow, who placed 16th in the men’s shotput at the Rio Olympics. The 26-year-old from Brockville would like to qualify for the final round
at worlds, and hopefully break the 21 m barrier. “I’ve been really close a bunch of times, but not quite there,” notes Nedow, who’s spent much more time in Ontario than usual this season, teaching his younger brother Tom what it takes to pursue throwing at a high-performance level. Tom won bronze medals in the U20 men’s discus and shotput nationals, hitting the Jr. Pan Am entry standard shortly after the qualification window closed.
GLENROY GILBERT The Lions’ third and final World Championships representative is Glenroy Gilbert, recently minted as Athletics Canada’s new head coach. “It’s a huge role,” acknowledges
the 1996 Olympic champion who was also inducted into the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame alongside Lions head coach Andy McInnis before the nationals. “I was humbled by it. I didn’t see it coming, but of course when they told me, I was happy to show up.”
YVES SIKUBWABO There will be a strong Ottawa flavour to the Canadian Francophone Games team. Perhaps no one will savour that opportunity more than Yves Sikubwabo. A distance runner for his native Rwanda at the 2010 World Junior Championships distance competitor in Moncton, Sikubwabo landed in Ottawa with essentially nothing besides his running shoes after deciding to take a bus to Canada’s capital and declare himself a refugee.
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“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since the day I got here: to become a citizen and to represent this country,” recounts the 24-year-old who was eventually adopted by a local family and became a popular student at Glebe Collegiate Institute. “Every time you see a coach or an athlete with a Canada shirt on, it looks so beautiful,” he adds. “So my dream was to someday have one myself.” Though Sikubwabo is thoroughly happy as a Canadian citizen, he has not forgotten the country and communities he left behind almost 10 years ago. The 7th-place finisher in the men’s 5,000 m recently started the Running Changed My Life Foundation to provide children from less fortunate countries with school uniforms and supplies and to help fund trackand-field training opportunities. “Running has always helped me,” underlines Sikubwabo, whose foundation can be found online at runningchangedmylife.ca. “I hope it can do the same for other low-income kids.”
SEKOU KABA Four years ago, it was Guyanaborn Sekou Kaba in Sikubwabo’s place, making his international debut for Canada shortly after receiving his citizenship. This time, the 2013 Francophone Games men’s 110 m hurdles champion will be carrying the maple leaf into the Abidjan stadium as Canada’s opening ceremonies flag bearer. Though Kaba didn’t collect the Canadian title he sought due to a race that was “messy, sloppy, and any other words you can think of,” the national silver medallist did get to cross one item off his bucket: beat Olympic medal-winning decathlete Damian Warner. “He doesn’t even know it, but he’s an idol to me,” explains Kaba, who made his Olympic debut in Rio.
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continued from last page “He always brings his best to the competition.” Yet to become a Canadian citizen is Omer-Deslauriers high school grad Charifa Labarang, who set a new personal-best time of 23.86 seconds en route to an 8th-place finish in the women’s 200 m. But the 22-year-old will still be making the trip to Ivory Coast, set to represent her birth country of Cameroon at the Francophone Games. Kaba, meanwhile, will complete his summertime tour of the globe with a trip to Taiwan for the FISU Games. He’d rather have been in England, however – his silver medal-winning time .17 seconds short of the worlds entry standard. “I know I am capable of more,” indicates Kaba, nonetheless pleased to post a season-best time at nationals after early-season injuries. “I’m just getting in the groove.”
SULTANA FRIZELL In a similar boat to Kaba is 2010/2014 Commonwealth Games women’s hammer throw champion Sultana Frizell, who missed the worlds standard but got a national gold medal as her silver lining. “I didn’t make my best distance of the year, but you know what? I got the job done and got another title and that’s OK,” says the Perth native who’s now returned to Ottawa as her primary home. “It’s good to be close to mom and dad and family ’cause I’ve been basically a hermit out in B.C. for about 9 years.”
BRYSON PATTERSON Bryson Patterson didn’t get the best of Damian Warner in the senior men’s long jump, but the 22-year-old wasn’t about to complain about a national silver medal one bit. “I’m still happy that I got to jump against him. Now I know what I have to do,” says Patterson, who leaped 7.45 m on his second attempt to shatter any remaining doubts about his ability to compete at the elite level. “I feel if it wasn’t for this season, I would probably be done with the sport or close to being done,” adds the Francophone Games-bound CANI Athletics jumper. “My coaches and my teammates, they said, “Bryson, you have the raw talent. You have to keep pulling through with this.” And if it wasn’t for them, I don’t where I’d be right now. I’m just very grateful I have the team that I have.”
DEVYANI & DIVYA BISWAL There may not be any athletes who appreciate a teammate’s support more than Lions twin sisters Devyani and Divya Biswal. Reeling in the senior women’s triple jump competition, Divya looked
photo: steve kingsman over to the track between jumps and saw her sister blazing to a new personal-best time of 13.51 seconds to advance to the final of the senior women’s 100 m hurdles. “She’s struggled with a lot of injuries these past couple of years, so to see her make that final really inspired me to pick up my jumping,” recounts Divya. “I saw her run the race and I was like, ‘Holy sh--, Dev just made the final!’ I was like, ‘I gotta use this.’ “So I gave her a big hug, then I went to do my thing.” Divya then launched herself into podium position with a leap of 13.02 m, earning the bronze medal that eluded her the previous day in the long jump. Swapping stockings may have also provided some magic for the Biswals. “We took one sock from each other so that we’re wearing the same pair of socks – that’s a little twin thing we did,” smiles Devyani, a past Canadian university champion for the Ottawa Gee-Gees, mirroring her sister’s NCAA Div. 3 crown for St. Lawrence University in upstate New York. “We‘ve never done that before because we don’t get to compete together very often now since she lives in the U.S.” Despite starting a full-time job in New York City as a financial analyst, Divya has enjoyed a breakthrough season, earning a spot on Team Canada for the first time in her career. “I’m working really hard. Apparently I have a lot of energy I didn’t know I had,” laughs Divya, thankful to have a supportive employer that’s even sponsored some of her travel for competitions. “I couldn’t be happier.” It’ll be a joy for the sisters to compete at the Francophone Games together, she adds. “It’s our first international competition, and I’m so proud to share that with her,” underlines the Sir Robert Borden High School grad. “Hopefully it’s the first of many.”
ASHLEA MADDEX Devyani will have another Lions sister at her side in the Francophone Games sprint hurdles competition, Ashlea Maddex. The pair have known each other for several years, but they didn’t end up in the same training group until this year. “She keeps workouts really focused,” Maddex says of Devyani. “It’s definitely something I really appreciate. We just get it done, and we have a good time.” The 24-year-old was “really excited” to celebrate her breakthrough bronze medal in the senior women’s 100 m hurdles in front of the family and coaches who have supported her throughout her career, including trips in to train with the Lions as a teenager from nearly an hour away in St. Pascal-Baylon, Ont.
2-TIME OLYMPIAN MAKINDE PART OF LOCAL FISU CREW A third Ottawa sprint hurdler finished halfway between Maddex and Devyani to place 5th in the final. Karelle Edwards earned her second consecutive Team Canada FISU Games berth with the performance, to be joined in Taiwan by CANI Athletics’ Nyoka Maxwell, who is also set to compete at the 2017 Canada Summer Games. Another member of the FISU Games team is Orleans native Rachel Aubry, whose story as the picture of persistence was perhaps overshadowed by the Bishop glow in the women’s 800 m. The 27-year-old Guelphbased 5th-place finisher competed for Canada at the 2009 world juniors but then missed out on international teams for a number of years. A fellow Orleans athlete with a similar story of persistence will join Aubry at FISU – 2-time Olympic alternate Segun Makinde, who was disappointed with his showing at nationals where he
missed the final in both the 100 m and 200 m. “Nothing worth doing is easy. So work hard,” counsels Makinde, hobbled by a lingering groin injury early this season. “That’s track and field. You’ve got to have a very short memory, move on from it very quickly, and go on to the next meet.” Despite the subpar results, Makinde says getting to compete at home for nationals is something he’ll never forget. “The crowd has been great. The support has been amazing,” underlines the Colonel By Secondary School and University of Ottawa grad. “The meet organizers and everybody came together, and they put on an amazing show. “I mean, I’m biased, of course, I’m from Ottawa, but I think we put on the best track meet in Canada. It’s amazing. It’s like a World Championship meet, or an Olympic meet. They did a great job.”
FARAH JACQUES Farah Jacques experienced the opposite of Makinde in Rio – she’d been slated as a women’s 4x100 m alternate, but an injury to a teammate opened the door for her to run, and Jacques burst right through, scoring an unexpected place in the final and a 7th-place finish. “I adored taking part in the Olympics,” signals the 27-year-old who is the oldest of three sisters with five older brothers. “It made me want to do it again and again.” Competing only in her signature 200 m – the result of a hamstring injury that knocked her out for 6 weeks just 2 months outside the Championships – Jacques placed 4th and fell short of making the Canadian worlds team. “I ran and it didn’t hurt, so that’s a good sign,” indicates the Gatineau resident who trains out of Terry Fox under
Gilbert (though she represents her old Perfmax-Racing club from Montreal). Asked about her future goals, Jacques responds without hesitation: “Oh, next Olympics, for sure.”
ALICIA BROWN Another member of a Canadian underdog-turned-top-dog relay team in Rio was Ottawa native Alicia Brown, whose 13th-seeded Canadian women’s 4x400 m relay team wound up finishing within .55 seconds of reaching the podium in 4th place. Qualifying for the final was an enormous eyeopener for the group. “We had this realization that we were competitive enough to take on these girls and that we could be on the podium. That was really exciting for us because it’s not something we hoped for or envisioned going in. “When we realized that, it was like, ‘Oh man!’” recalls the 27-year-old Merivale High School grad. “Running that final was probably the most exciting/ terrifying/heartbreaking experience of our lives. It’s hard to not feel proud, but at the same time, there was this disappointment as well because we were just so close.” Brown was again satisfied just to make a final in her 400 m at nationals. The University of Toronto-based athlete endured a “challenging year” with a hamstring injury that threatened to completely wipe out her season. Though she missed out on a trip to worlds, Brown is glad to know that Canada will still be a contender in the 4x400 m relay. “I think we proved that Canadian women are capable of competing,” underlines the Ottawa Lions product. “It’s great because it inspires the younger generation of 400 m girls to be able to work towards something we’ve set the foundation for. “It’s cool to see that, because I remember being in their shoes too.” –with files from Dan Plouffe
CANADIAN TRACK-AND-FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS SPECIAL Lions pals share int’l debuts at Commonwealth Youth Games, laughs
By Dan Plouffe Asked on the eve of her international debut for Canada at the Commonwealth Youth Games if she prefers the 400 metres of the 400 m hurdles event, Sharelle Samuel’s answer was clear: the barricade-free form of the 400. “For me with hurdles, I tend to overthink it,” the Ottawa Lions Track-and-Field Club athlete explained during the Canadian Track-and-Field Championships. “It’s one of my weaknesses in hurdles. I have the endurance for it, but figuring how to run the whole race is what I struggle with.” Samuel wound up figuring it out in a hurry, eclipsing the 1-minute barrier en route to a big personal-best time of 59.59 seconds and a Commonwealth Youth Games silver medal on July 23 in the Bahamas. That performance came 2 days after Samuel missed the podium by one place in the 400 m, which was the same slim margin that caused Lions teammate Lauren Gale to miss the final in the same event. For Gale, Samuel’s performances never come as a surprise. “I always expect Sharelle to
be at the front,” signalled the former South Carleton High School student. “She has the longest legs ever.” Gale, who now lives in Denver with her family during the school year (her father is on a military posting there), says it’s a big plus having another international-calibre athlete like Samuel at her side when she comes back to Ottawa during the summer. “We get to train together and push each other,” Gale highlighted. “And have an awesome relay team.” Samuel and Gale joined forces to win gold for the host Lions in the U20 women’s 4x400 m relay at the July 3-9 nationals, while Samuel also earned medals against older U20 athletes in the 4x100 m relay (silver) and 400 m and 400 m hurdles (both bronze) despite still having a year of high school left at Ashbury College. There were no individual medals for Gale or the Lions’ third Commonwealth Youth Games participant, Mei Mei Weston, though that pair were both very pleased to simply make the team due to another commonality they share: hip injuries. Gale had hip surgery in
Sharelle Samuel (left) & Lauren Gale. photo: dan plouffe
January to repair a torn labrum (the result of another hip procedure 3 years prior to fix a bone that stuck out too far). Weston didn’t go under
the knife, but her lingering hip problem held her back for 5 months. The Glebe Collegiate Institute student was starting to get back to form when she
Ageless Dunkerley wins worlds silver By Dan Plouffe
After setting a pair of personal-bests and winning a pair of Paralympic medals at the same Games for the first time as a 35-year-old at London 2012, Jason Dunkerley said he was like a fine wine that gets better with age. Five years later – and after contemplating retirement from international competition following his fifth Paralympics in 2016 – Dunkerley, who hits the big 4-0 Aug. 21, returned to the site of his greatest triumph and won a silver medal in the T11 men’s 1,500 metres at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships on July 21. At his side was a new, younger guide runner, Ottawa’s Jérémie Venne, who stepped in for Josh Karanja, now retired as an athlete. Karanja is now Dunkerley’s coach along with a group of mostly high school and university-aged middle-distance runners with the Ottawa Lions Track-andField Club. “It keeps me young, chasing them,” smiled Dunkerley, who competes in the category for athletes with no vision. The group has a relaxed but focused atmosphere, and is very supportive, added Dunkerley, who’d intended to retire from international competition after placing 5th in Rio but figured “why not?” when informed by Athletics Canada that times he ran with Karanja last year qualified him for worlds. At the Canadian Track-and-Field Championships in Ottawa, Dunkerley again said “this is probably it” for him in terms of international competition, but pledged to
“keep having fun” after London 2017 and that he’d be “happy to take another stab” at the next worlds.
2 MORE LIONS ON PARA TEAM CANADA After achieving his goal at nationals to stay “right beside (Victoria runner) Michael (Barber) in the red photo provided striped shirt like the Cat in the Hat,” Ottawa Lions distance runner Tommy Des Brisay made his international debut for Canada in London, finishing 8th in the T20 men’s 5,000 m for athletes with intellectual disabilities. Des Brisay, who has autism, says he was very excited to almost make Canada’s Paralympic team in 2016 and feels like, at age 25, he definitely has the potential to make it to the Paralympic Games in the future. Fellow Lion Larissa Brown also came close to reaching the Rio 2016 Paralympics as a 17-year-old, though she too had to wait for this season to sport the maple leaf internationally for the first time. “Now I feel ready, and much more confident,” the recent St. Mark Catholic High School grad said after setting a new personal-best time of 13.34 seconds at nationals on her home track. Alongside 2012 Paralympic guide runner Andrew Heffernan of Ottawa, Brown will compete in the T12 sprint events for athletes with visual impairments at the World Junior Para Athletics Championships Aug. 3-6 in Switzerland. —with files from Charlotte van Walraven
got a concussion while playing soccer, then caught laryngitis to top it all off. “This year, I’ve been getting all the hits,” Weston detailed. “But everything I’ve gone through has given me a whole other view on training and running and the life of a high-performance athlete. “I’ve never been injured in my life, I’ve never had a big hit like a concussion or anything. I know I’m so much stronger mentally and I’m going to come back really strong next year with this experience behind me.” While Weston didn’t hit the times she sought this year, the distance runner was nonetheless thrilled to wear the Canadian singlet. “It’s been my dream,” smiles Weston, who was most looking forward to racing against East Africans and “just so many countries that I’ve watched in the Olympics and I’ve always been in wow of.” Hopefully this is one step towards my goal of the Olympics,” she adds. The three Lions were eager to room together again like they did at the Athletics Ontario Championships and play the president’s card game
(now that Weston has endured Samuel and Gale’s introductory learning curve), and enjoy the Bahamian sun. Having their trio triples the fun, they note. “It’s great that we get to represent Canada and our club so well,” Samuel underlines. Samuel wasn’t the only Lion to follow up her national podium performances with an international medal. Alongside Canadian U20 women’s 100 m champion Shyvonne Roxborough of Ottawa, Gale and Samuel’s Lions relay teammate Keira Christie-Galloway helped Canada to a bronze medal in the women’s 4x100 m relay at the Pan American Junior Track-andField Championships on July 22 in Peru. Ryan Thomsen, an Alberta-based athlete who represents the Lions, completed the first four events of the men’s decathlon at the junior Pan Ams before withdrawing. Roan Allen would have competed in Peru had his big throw come a bit earlier, but the Lions’ athlete’s javelin toss of 62.68 m at nationals after the Pan Am qualifying deadline nonetheless earned him a Canadian crown in the U20 men’s event.
Invictus Games demo brings first-time category for athletes with psychological injuries By Anne Duggan On top of the local athletes representing Canada abroad this summer, a number will compete on home soil come the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto. The Sept. 23-30 event is the third international games for servicemen and women who have suffered life-changing injuries, both visible and invisible, while serving their countries. Alongside the July 4-5 Canadian Para Athletics Championships in Ottawa were several Invictus Games demonstration events, set to return again at next year’s championship. “It was the first time that there was a psychological injury category on the Para Athletics day at nationals,” highlights competitor/organizer Natacha Dupuis. There were 20 members of Team Invictus, including athletes from the current 2017 Canadian team, past 2014 and 2016 Invictus Games participants, as well as some participants from the Canadian Armed Forces’ Soldier On program. “For the members of Team Canada
Invictus 2017 team, it was a great opportunity to work on competition stress,” notes Dupuis, an Ottawa Lions athlete herself who has been using sport and Soldier On to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder. Adam Jones, who also trains with the Lions, won both the men’s 100 and 200 m Invictus races. He’ll compete in Toronto in athletics as well as indoor rowing. “I am pretty nervous before every race but I am very happy with these results including a 13.03 in the 100 m,” signals Jones, who is recovering from a serious brain injury that occurred while working as a gunner with the Canadian Armed Forces.“I was so inspired by my teammates,” adds the Carleton University student. Geoff De Melo won’t be on the track come the 2017 Invictus Games, but he will compete in swimming and cycling in Toronto. “My goal was to treat the event as a training exercise,” signals De Melo. “I wanted to see how I could handle crowds and my anxiety.”
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– COMMUNITY CLUBS – 4 local field hockey teams go to nationals
Tumblers Gymnastics anchors revolutionary local $20M sports facility development
By Martin Boyce For the first time, Eastern Ontario has four Nepean Nighthawks-driven teams competing at the Field Hockey Canada National Championships from July 18-25 in Surrey, B.C. After sending only an under-15 boys’ team the past 2 years, having entries in all youth divisions (under-18 and U15 boys and girls) is a huge step forward for the sport locally, says Nighthawks director of player development Sandeep Chopra, who founded the Nepean club 9 years ago. “Because of the success of our programs, it gives way more kids in our region a chance to have a high-performance experience,” highlights Chopra, who – get this one, Ottawa sports parents – held provincial program tryouts in the nation’s capital this season, also a first. “Kids are registering, which is great, but the parents are really involved, and the community fabric has become really really strong lately,” adds Chopra. “From doing things like nationals where we have to get together and raise money, everyone comes together.” With the rapid rise of the sport locally, the club had to limit the number of player spaces available this season due to a lack of available field time, encouraging talks of de-
veloping new field hockey-first training grounds. “We’re limited only by the capacity of the facilities now,” Chopra explains. “If we get a world-class field hockey facility, somewhere in Nepean, then the sky will be the limit. A couple thousand players would not be out of the possibilities.” During the Nighthawks’ 8th-annual Junior Hockey Fest from June 16-18, Nepean had a team playing in every time slot throughout the weekend two side-by-side pitches at Nepean Sportsplex’s Minto Field. Clubs from Chelsea, Gatineau and the GTA all participated in the Junior Fest and say they feel it is important for all field hockey clubs to get be-
INVICTUS GAMES continued from last page De Melo was “pleasantly surprised” that the demands of race preparation and support from his teammates were enough to manage his PTSD, which is often problematic in
loud and crowded places. “I was so focused on warmup, and proper hydration and nutrition that I hardly realized it was so noisy,” he explains. “My emotions were kept at bay.”
photo: dan plouffe
hind one another’s efforts. “[Chopra]’s been our biggest supporter,” says Sanjay D’Silva, of the Canadian Field Hockey and Cultural Club in Mississauga, who welcomed eight Nepean teams to their own early-June tournament. “I think it’s more like a family. All the of the clubs should feel that way. We should be a family because with that comes relationships, and encouraging the youngsters, and promoting the game.” The Nighthawks were eager to chase some national hardware on the west coast, but regardless of result, being there already shows just how far the sport has come locally. “It really is an incredible thing that’s happening here and I don’t think any other sport can say they’ve had the rate of growth that we have,” suggests Chopra. “The number of people that are involved in the Ottawa area – it’s really a dream come true for us.”
Tumblers Gymnastics Centre is no stranger to energy and excitement, but the buzz reached a new fever-pitch during the June unveiling of plans to build an innovative new facility for the Orleans club, led by a group of Ottawa’s best-known developers. “They want something better than I put up with in my generation,” says Bruce Firestone, the Ottawa Senators founder and partner in the group leading the $20 million project. “I’m super excited about it.” Dubbed “Fortitude”, the new development seeks to transform the image of what a community sports facility should look like. “The belief was that if you’re not a professional performer or athlete in this city, or close to it, you can never expect to play or perform in a facility that is anything but ordinary. You should expect to be in a repurposed warehouse, a high school gym or a basement in a shopping plaza,” explains Brian Dagenais, President of Black Sheep Developments. “The aim with this, quite frankly, would be to be a world-class facility.” As the anchor tenant, Tumblers’ home would grow substantially to 25,000 square-feet, opening up the possibility of hosting national or international-level competitions and welcoming top coaches from around the world (who could stay at a prospective short-term residence).
COMMUNITY DESTINATION FOR FAMILIES’ HEALTH & WELL-BEING Fortitude as a whole will be roughly triple that
size, featuring an integrated sports services hub housing other complimentary recreational sports clubs, education or music schools, food services, health care professionals, related retail stores, and an outdoor area for public use. The effect will be to create a destination rather than multiple isolated drop off points, to ease the busy family schedule and focus on the health of each family member. “As gymnastics is the foundation of all sport, so too is Fortitude to a family’s health and well-being,” the developers note. “It will be a place at the heart of the community where the entire family can become engaged.” Architect Douglas Cardinal, renowned for his work on the Canadian Museum of History and the Wabano Centre among many projects, has been tapped to design the building. It is set to open by 2019 on Mer-Bleue Road near Innes. “There is a genuine interest on the team that’s working to build this property to leave some sort of legacy for the community,” Dagenais highlights. “If it serves as a model for others to be built, whether in Ottawa, or another city, then it has a chance to be something very, very special.” The company’s Black Sheep name stems from a desire to do things outside the norm – like Dymon shifting storage from an industrial setting to attractive urban spaces, or Movati Athletic turning their field on its head. “For amateur athletics and performances, maybe we can do the same,” Dagenais adds. “The more people I talk to, the more this seems like an opportunity whose time has come.” Find out more and view conceptual sketches at: blacksheepdevelopments.com
FALL SESSION STARTS SEPT. 11 – REGISTER NOW!
613-836-9149 | www.olympiagymnastics.ca
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YMCA-YWCA OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION STARS OF THE MONTH
Contact: Editor: Dan Plouffe 613-261-5838 Editor@SportsOttawa.com OTTAWA COMMUNITY SPORT MEDIA TEAM Board of Directors Josh Bell Anne Duggan John Haime Josh Karanja Dan Plouffe (Executive Director) Mohamed Sofa Doug Scorrar The Ottawa Sportspage is a not-for-profit publication devoted to shining a spotlight on local amateur sport. Under the direction of the Ottawa Community Sport Media Team, our group also runs the CAMPS Project alongside the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation’s recLINK program. The Connecting Athletes of All Means to Paths in Sport Project links OCH children & youth to free opportunities with our partner sports groups, which receive heavily discounted advertising in exchange for offering the positions in their programs at no cost to our participants. CAMPS PROJECT PARTNERS Beaver Boxing Club Bytown Storm Triathlon Club Capital City Dance Capital Kids Tennis Capital Wave Water Polo Club Carleton Jr. Ravens ÉSP/Dome Louis-Riel FC Capital United Soccer Club Geng Table Tennis Academy Gloucester Griffins Lacrosse Kanata GymnoSphere Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club KV Dance Studio Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club Nepean Nighthawks Field Hockey Olympia Gymnastics Ottawa Gymnastics Centre Ottawa Lions Track & Field Club Ottawa National Diving Club Ottawa Rowing Club Ottawa South United Soccer Club Ottawa Table Tennis Clu RA Centre Resolute Gymnastics Centre Rideau Canoe Club Royal City Soccer Club Tennis For Life Ottawa Tumblers Gymnastics Centre YMCA-YWCA
Team of the Month: Ottawa West Twins Little League Baseball Senior Team
Athletes of the Month: Hailey McLean & Ashantae Spalding
About: Hailey McLean and Ashantae Spalding won a silver medal with Team Ontario at the July 17-21 Female Lacrosse Nationals in Halifax. The Nepean Knights club teammates helped Ontario to convincing victories over Alberta and Nova Scotia in their meetings, falling only to B.C. en route to the runner-up performance.
Team Members: Robbie Bleich, J.T. Fortin, Christopher Jelley, Jack Lawlor, Ryan Pepper, Heath Gordon-Moore, Ryan McPherson, Stefanos Mellios, Evan Pierce, Joey Bak, Mitch Mazara, Jayson Moss-McEachern, Layton Moss-McEachern, Coaches Clark Lawlor, Manny Mellios & Manager Doug Moss. About: The Ottawa West Twins were off to a second consecutive appearance in a national final (as of Sportspage press time) thanks to their impressive run at the July 19-26 Canadian Little League Senior Championships in Calgary. The Twins opened with a 4-1 victory over B.C., then trounced Quebec, Atlantic and Alberta 13-1, 8-2 and 13-3 before twice knocking off host Fish Creek 7-3 (to conclude the round robin) and 12-7 (in the semi-finals) to book their return trip to the national final against B.C. Ottawa West went undefeated at the earlier July 8-14 Ontario Championships, knocking off the host Orleans Red Sox 6-0 in the final. Dubbed “the little team that could” when they came within one game of an upset Canadian crown last season in Ottawa, the Twins hail from a small association within Little League Canada’s tiniest district, and reached their heights with a playing roster of just 13. The Canadian champion plays in the Senior-level World Series July 30-Aug. 5 in Easley, SC. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate your Stars! Courtesy of the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region, the selected Stars of the Month will receive free passes to the Y.
CAMPS Project concludes introductory sports clinics series Blessed with reasonable weather during a stingy summer season, the Connecting Athletes of All Means to Paths in Sport Project ran a series of successful introductory sports clinics for children and youth from Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhoods in July out of Pinecrest Park, McNabb Recreation Centre, Ledbury Park and Dr. F. J. McDonald Catholic School. The clinics allowed the participants to experience sports they haven’t tried before, or get a taste of familiar sports in an organized setting with high-quality coaching. Leading the sessions were coaches from a number of CAMPS Project partner clubs, including Ottawa Beavers/ Banshees rugby, FC Capital United soccer, Gloucester Griffins lacrosse, For Pivots Sake skateboard, Nepean Nighthawks field hockey and Ottawa Titans water polo, alongside a member of the local ultimate community. For Aaron Cayer, who’s delivered skateboard programs (including free boards and helmets) for 6 years through his not-for-profit For Pivots Sake group, the motivation to help out comes from a desire to influence society in a positive manner, starting with the grassroots. “You’re not going to get every one of them skating,” underlines the University of Ottawa economics grad and lifetime skateboarder. “But I saw one kid where I was like, ‘OK, he’s actually pretty good.’ But he probably doesn’t have a board or anyone to skate with, so let’s come back and work with him.”
Cayer’s aim is now to offer programs on a weekly basis throughout summer with collaboration from the likes of Rochester Heights Community House. It’s not his chief objective, but there is the possibility that a young athlete may good really good at skateboarding, which was recently added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme. The pull of the podium can certainly act as an inspirational force. “What I like about skateboarding is that if you want to have fun on a board, you can go and have fun, but if you want to go and win a gold medal, it’s on you,” Cayer notes. “You’re not ever going to have a coach come in and say, ‘Work harder’ or ‘You didn’t do well enough.’ It’s all going to be self-driven.” Regardless, what’s important for Cayer’s For Pivots Sake team is that
a connection is made through skateboarding. “I hope because skateboarding is a little rough around the edges that it’s easier to connect with some of these kids,” highlights the federal government employee and part-owner of Birling Skateboard Shop on Somerset St. “We don’t come in and say, ‘Here I am, this shining worldly example.’ You know, I make mistakes. I’m a real person. “I hope they have fun with skateboarding. And I also hope they look at us and they’re like, ‘Ya, they also have a full-time job.’” The clinics series was just one aspect of the CAMPS Project, which is run collaboratively by the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation’s recLINK program and the Ottawa Community Sport Media Team not-for-profit that
operates the Ottawa Sportspage. Concurrently this summer, OCH youth were being shuttled by actKIDvity’s Abdul Sadiku to attend summer camps at CAMPS Project partner clubs, and many more continued to participate in their seasonal sports programs. The clinics serve to ignite a spark, then participants can move onto other CAMPS Project streams. Eventually, the goal is to open doors to university scholarships and careers in sport for talented athletes, and for all to enjoy being active and take an interest in becoming part of the next generation of sport volunteers, coaches and mentors in our community. “There are a great many people who made this initiative possible – too many to properly salute, really,” says Ottawa Community Sport Media Team executive director Dan Plouffe. “But a big thank you to all the volunteers who gave their time to run the sessions, our funding partners, the staff at recLINK, and in particular our CAMPS Project coordinator Nick Nishikawa, who did an amazing job pulling together all the pieces to make these opportunities possible. “As I know all local sports volunteers can appreciate, it’s the smiles on the kids’ faces at the end of the day that make all the work worthwhile. We look forward to continuing to build our CAMPS Project with the local sports community and seeing lots more smiling faces for years to come.” —Ottawa Sportspage
OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE SNAPSHOTS DOUBLE BRONZE FOR KANATA RHYTHMIC GYMNAST AT MACCABIAH GAMES Ottawa’s Haley Miller won a pair of bronze medals at the July 4-16 Maccabiah Games (often informally called the Jewish Olympics) in Israel. Shortly after graduating from Grade 8 at Ottawa Jewish Community School, Miller earned 3rd-place finishes in both the ball and hoop events in the junior rhythmic gymnastics competition. “She did absolutely incredible and we are so proud of her!” Miller’s Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club wrote on Instagram. “This is an amazing achievement and definitely one to remember.”
OTTAWA ROWING CLUB HITS 150 YEARS A tad older than Canada itself, the Ottawa Rowing Club marked its 150th anniversary on June 17 with an hour-long row past some of Canada’s most historic places along the Ottawa River. The “Kitchissippi Flotilla” saw 150 ORC members of all ages and levels row every class of boat available in the sport, with only one crew capsizing (and no injuries or dampened spirits reported). Following a welcome back onshore by Algonquin elder Annie Smith, the ORC officially christened the newest addition to its fleet, an 8+ boat to be raced by Team Ontario at the Canada Summer Games.
OTTAWA FENCER TOP CANADIAN AT WORLDS Ottawa native Kelleigh Ryan was the top Canadian out of all disciplines at the July 19-25 FIE Senior Fencing World Championships in Germany. The 30-year-old placed 25th overall in the individual women’s foil competition, and also helped Canada to a 6th-place finish in the women’s foil team event.
LOCAL DIVERS SCORE MEDALS AT JUNIOR NATIONALS Silver was the medal of choice for local divers at the July 7-9 Junior Development Nationals in Victoria, B.C. The Ottawa National Diving Club’s Kathryn Grant (age 12-13 3-metre) and Catherine Boyer (age 10-11 platform), and the Nepean-Ottawa Diving Club’s Kate Miller (age 12-13 1 m & platform) all placed 2nd in their events. At the July 20-23 Junior Elite Nationals in Montreal, NODC’s Henry McKay won a Canadian crown in the age 16-17 1 m event, while Emma Corrigan earned a top-10 finish in the age 14-15 platform competition – one place ahead of ONDC teammate Sofia Perrey.
PAIR OF NATIONAL SILVER FOR LOCAL PENTATHLETES
At the July 7-9 Canadian Pentathlon Championships in Calgary, Rio 2016 Olympian Melanie McCann and 2016 University of Ottawa Gee-Gees national swimming medallist Robert Bonomo, a newcomer to the sport, both earned silver medals in their respective women’s and men’s competitions.
LOUIS-RIEL STUDENT REPEATS AS JUNIOR PAN AM JUDO CHAMP Ottawa judoka Ben Kendrick repeated as U18 Pan American champion at the June 29-July 1 tournament in Cancun, Mexico. The Louis-Riel high school student won 3 matches by ippon over opponents from Costa Rica, Argentina and Brazil in the men’s 90 kg category. Kendrick will again represent Canada at the Aug. 6-15 U18 World Championships in Chile.
Teammates-turned-rivals face off in national table tennis final
OSU Force Academy Zone
OSU’s Hanisch plays for Canada in China
Ottawa South United Force player Isabella Hanisch and Canada Soccer’s Women’s U-17 Team leaves Weifang, China after gaining invaluable experience at the July 12-16 Four Nations Tournament with a 3-1 loss to China, a 1-1 draw with the USA and a 3-1 loss to Japan. “This is really just the start for the group, and they showed huge growth over a short period,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer National EXCEL Director 14-20. “The experience of playing two top Asian teams preparing for qualifiers and the US so early in a cycle can’t be underestimated as it really allowed us to take a snapshot of where we are currently and provided us with a great starting point to build upon. The tournament also provided us with an excellent practice run for future tournaments coping with travel, the heat, tight turnarounds and related pressures, all of Isabella Hanisch. which these players will be exposed to in the future, so it was an excellent development experience overall.” The Four Nations Tournament in Weifang, China was a key touchpoint prior to CONCACAF qualification for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018, and provided Canada Soccer’s technical staff with an opportunity to assess the group and better understand the curriculum needs going in to 2018’s major events, as well as the development needs of individuals in their journey towards the Women’s National Team.
FORCE ON ONTARIO’S CANADA GAMES TEAMS The Ontario Men’s and Women’s U-18 Provincial Teams will take on squads from around Canada at the 2017 Canada Summer Games, taking place July 28-August 13, in Winnipeg. “This is a great opportunity for our athletes to test their skills against the best players this country has to offer,” said Bryan Rosenfeld, Ontario Soccer Manager of High Performance. “We’re looking at this as another development opportunity for our provincial players but also we’re going into this Ricky Comba. competition with the intent to win it as well.” The provincial teams are selected from Ontario’s provincial programs, the Ontario Player Development League, League1 Ontario and scouting around the province. Current OSU players Tony Mikhael, Ricky Comba, Emily Amano, Kayza Massey and a number of others who have developed with OSU in the past are part of the team. Well done to all the OSU players who will represent Ontario!
2005 FORCE BOYS – NORDIC CUP CHAMPIONS
Alongside coach Horatio Pintea, Geng Table Tennis Academy players Jean Fei, Sabrina Chen, Ann Shiao & Maggie Jin all medalled for host Team Ontario at the Canadian Junior Table Tennis Championships July 10-12 at Markham’s Pan Am Games Centre.
By Dan Plouffe Sabrina Chen and Ann Shiao have spent countless hours training together – at least 3 days every week – and have developed similar playing styles as young athletes in the Geng Table Tennis Academy. “It’s very helpful,” signals Chen, the 2017 Ontario women’s champion at age 14. “She’s a fantastic training partner.” Chen and Shiao reached the final of the 21-team girls’ doubles competition at the July 10-12 Canadian Junior Table Tennis Championships in Markham, but not together. Instead, they were on opposite sides of the table with partners from the Toronto area. The Geng clubmates might have played together, but initially believed there’d also be under-15 girls’ doubles event, for which Shiao couldn’t have entered since she’s a year older than Chen.
So, Chen paired up with Joyce Xu – an evenly-matched player with whom Chen frequently flip-flops wins and losses in singles play – and Shiao linked up with longtime fellow Ontario competitor Justina Yeung. The Geng pair enjoyed remarkably similar experiences on opposite sides of the draw, each winning 3 matches apiece to make it to the championship game, including narrow semi-final victories that went to the final set. “I think it’s a great achievement,” underlines Shiao, an Earl of March Secondary School student. “In Ottawa, there aren’t as many players as in an area like Toronto, so it’s really nice to have a couple Ottawa players on the podium.” The Geng players knew that little separates winning and losing between teams that make it to a national final, so went into the match with the approach that they’d
simply try their best. “It’s pretty uncommon to be against a teammate you know so well,” notes Shiao. “We were very happy for each other.” Their provincial team coaches were thrilled to see an all-Ontario final, though it left both teams in the unusual situation of not having a coach. In the end, Chen and Xu got the upper hand in straight sets. “I was very happy,” says Chen, who attends St. Joseph Catholic High School, site of the GTTA summer camps run by their local coach Lijuan Geng, a former world #1 and 4-time world champion for her native China before moving to Ottawa and representing Canada at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. “After the match, we congratulated each other,” recounts Chen. “We’re still friends even though we’d played against each other.”
The 2005 Force White Boys travelled to Stowe, Vermont in June for the Nordic Cup. In round robin day 1, the boys finished with two wins 1-0 and 11-1. Playing in Day 2, the final game of round robin matched the two undefeated teams. Against a very athletic larger team, the boys played hard to tie the game in the last minute to move onto the finals. The team met the Alleycats Academy from Albany, New York in the final. The team came out strong in the final playing their hardest and best game of the tournament to win the final 5-2. Congratulations to all the boys for an outstanding effort and performance, to team manager Penny for her work organizing the trip, and thanks to Coach Brandon Krauthaker for leading us to the win!
JUNIOR LEAGUES OSU & WOSC meet at the top of OPDL standings again in U15 boys By Martin Boyce The undefeated Ottawa South United Force are looking to hold off the West Ottawa Warriors’ push to top the under-15 boys’ Ontario Player Development League standings, one year after watching their cross-town rival secure the historic championship. Not quite half way through the season, OSU has dominated its competition, only conceding 1 goal in 7 league games. Consistent effort has been key for the team’s success, says coach Abraham Osman. “We get the ball to our danger players,” he explains. “They’ve been able to capitalize on chances they’ve had and score a lot of goals by retaining the ball and keeping possession.” Though the OPDL features older age groups, the U15 level has almost become the signature division on the boys’ side since many of the top players tend to join professional clubs’ youth academies by the time they’re 16. Champions at the U15 level last year, OSU didn’t field a U16 team this season, with so many
moving on to the next level, particularly with Toronto FC of Major League Soccer. Those kind of opportunities provide plenty of fuel to the fire for teenaged OPDL players, Osman indicates. “Perfect your craft and your skills,” he preaches. “You have to make it almost a perfect art because at the next level, for every one of you, there are five or six in the same position you have to beat out.” OSU leading scorer D’lontae Whilby is one of those players hoping to move on to a pro club next year, but he wants a title to his name before then. “My team is very valuable and I’ve gotten to know them, so coming through as a team would mean a lot,” signals the league’s #6 scorer with 9 goals in 8 games. “I’d like to play pro in the MLS. Of course in Europe too, to make the big bucks. I’m just always trying to make it to the next level.” At #2 in the U15 boys’ scoring race is OPDL newcomer Ali Audy, who joined the Warriors this season from the Kevin Nelson Soccer Academy. “I just found this team because I heard they
KIRKWOOD CELEBRATES CANADA’S 1STEVER FIBA WORLD BASKETBALL TITLE
Ottawa native Noah Kirkwood earned his piece of Canadian basketball history as he helped the under-19 men’s national team to the Canada’s first-ever gold medal at an international FIBA competition at the July 1-9 FIBA U19 World Cup in Egypt. The Canadians went undefeated in 7 contests, including their stunning 99-87 upset of USA in the semi-finals and a 79-60 triumph over Italy in the championship game. “What an incredible moment for Canadian basketball,” Team Canada head coach Roy Rana said in a Basketball Canada media release. “Incredible moment for our country, for these kids. It’s unbelievable to be able to say that we’re the best team on the planet at the U19 age level. It’s hard to express.” The youngest player on Team Canada, Kirkwood appeared in every match, averaging 11.9 minutes of court time and 4.1 points per game. The recent OFSAA-champion Ashbury College grad is headed to Northfield Mount Hermon next season prior to a likely NCAA career.
won the league last year and have a very good coach and very good players,” explains Audy, an Iraqi-born Syrian refugee whose family had fled two wars in the middle east. Audy, who’s scored 11 times in 9 matches, credits his growth and success this year to his West Ottawa teammates. “My finishing has gone well, but without them I wouldn’t be able to score all those goals,” he highlights. “So thank you to them.” Audy, who idolizes and aspires to be like Lionel Messi, has his sights set on playing professionally in Sweden, where he and his former teammates went to compete in the Gothia Cup last year. “I want to play pro anywhere in Europe and represent my country,” he underlines. Lurking close by with 6 wins, 2 losses and a tie, the Warriors could yet rain on OSU’s planned championship parade. Meeting during a massive June downpour for the OPDL quarter-finals, it was West Ottawa applying consistent offensive pressure on OSU to advance in the knockout competition with a 2-0 win. “Offensively, we’re always a threat. At any point in time, we are able to penetrate the defence,” signals West Ottawa coach Chris Roth. “Defensively, we’ve been struggling a little bit. That’s why we’re not at the top of the table.” The Warriors blow out their opponents more often than not, but they’ve been on the receiving end of a couple big defeats too.
“We just need to play more consistent,” Roth adds. “But the boys are absolutely able to play at the top level, there is no doubt about it.” The local rivals will meet again Aug. 3 in OPDL regular season action. Also sitting strong at the OPDL midseason break are the OSU U14 boys (1st with 7 wins, a loss and 2 draws) and U15 girls (1st at 7-1-2), the West Ottawa U16 boys (1st at 7-4-0), U14 girls (5-1-3, though stuck down in 4th) and U16 girls (2nd at 5-1-1).
The Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Special Edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper (August 2017).