Langley’s young Kayla Halliday is on her way to Kamloops later this month, to strut her stuff on the ice as one of the competing in the figure skating component of the 2018 BC Winter Games.
She’s one of some 1,200-plus young athletes converging on the B.C. Interior community to participate in 19 different sports. They’ll be accompanied by some 342 coaches, and about 200 officials expected to be in Kamloops from Feb. 22 to 25.
Kayla, a Grade 7 French Immersion student at Noel Booth Elementary, was selected to represent Langley on the ice.
A proud mother, Carla, boasted that her daughter is currently the BC Juvenile women U14 champion and trains with Canadian Olympic skaters such as Patrick Chan and Larkyn Austman.
“She finds her step sequence the most challening part of her program because it is at the end, and sometimes she can get ahead of herself,” said Carla. “Especially when she has had a clean program, and she is excited, her feet can easily get rushed.”
Kayla trains with former Czech Olympian Zdenek Pazdirek, and on the same ice as Canadian Olympians Patrick Chan and Larkyn Austman.
“Training with them on a daily basis and sharing a coach with Larkyn has taught her the hard work and dedication it takes to make it to the national and Olympic level,” said Carla.
And Kayla does hoope to one day represent Canada at the games.
Right now, she’s preparing herself mentally for the B.C. Winter Games, and getting ready fo her routine, which is set to We’re In the Money from the musical 42nd Street.
In the meantime, this is one of the biggest months of the year B.C.-wide for young aspiring athletes who are about to test their performance on a provincial scale.
These athletes are an average of 14 years old and for most, this will be their first experience at a multi-sport Games.
Special Olympians will compete in basketball and figure skating (like Kayla), while athletes with a disability will compete in wheelchair basketball, explained Kelly Mann, president and CEO of the BC Games Society.
“Kamloops hosted the very first BC Winter Games, so it is fitting to return to Canada’s Tournament Capital as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations,” said Mann.
“The athletes, coaches, and officials will benefit from the extensive event hosting experience in Kamloops. These BC Winter Games and the coinciding Olympic Winter Games will inspire many of these young athletes towards future national and international level competitions.”
Volunteers in Kamloops have been preparing for the past 18 months to host the Games.
There will be more than 1,600 volunteers working to ensure the participants have exceptional competition and a first-rate experience with opening and closing ceremonies, special events, and “wonderful” hospitality, Mann said.
“We are ready! I am immensely proud of the volunteer team that has invested hundreds of hours to ensure that every athlete, coach, official, and parent has an unforgettable experience in Kamloops,” said Niki Remesz, president 2018 Kamloops BC Winter Games.
“The pinnacle of these Games’ can be credited to 40 years of BC Games success provincially and a labour of love, locally, from our team’s passion and expertise in leading. I’m excited that Kamloops will be the beginning of that story for so many young athletes joining us next month.”
The BC Winter Games has been the starting point for many athletes who have gone on to higher levels of sport.
Fourteen BC Games alumni have been named so far to Team Canada for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games including Kamloops’s very own Josie (Spence) Morrison who will compete in long track speed skating. Other BC Games alumni include, Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa (ski cross), Summerland’s Justin Kripps (bobsleigh), and Whistler’s Teal Harle (freestyle skiing).
Langley will have 50 athletes competing at the Games. They’re participating in archery, Special Olympic basketball, wheelchair basketball (including two local boys who participated in the recent wheelchair basketball exhibition tournament at Timms), boys and girls curling, diving, gymnastics, karate, netball, ringette, and – of course – figure skating.
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