It’s the legacy that just keeps on giving.
A contingent of close to 80 Kelowna athletes, coaches, parents and chaperones are set to leave for New Taipei City, Taiwan next month for the International Children’s Games in an ongoing tradition that started in 2011 when Kelowna played host to the Children’s Games.
“We’re always one of the largest contingents and we’re the only city from Western Canada that is going,” said Heather Schneider, the president of the ICG Kelowna legacy committee. “I’m just thrilled. The city has been great, the volunteers, parents, the athletes. This just continues to grow. We get different sports approaching us all the time to attend.”
In 2011, when Kelowna played host to the 5th International Children’s Winter Games, it was the first time the winter games had been hosted outside of Europe. In the following years, there have been 250 Kelowna athletes that have travelled to take part in various ICG events in places like Scotland, South Korea, Russia, the Netherlands, Austria and Australia, participating in 19 different sports.
During that time Kelowna athletes have won 16 medals and the city is one of the few that has won medals in both the winter and summer games. This year 20 athletes will attend the games in the sports to tae kwon do, girls volleyball, swimming and tennis.
“I think it’s going to be a great learning experience, to be able to see the different culture and also to play teams from all over the world and see how they can play,” said Mataya Redpath, 15, a member of the girls volleyball team.
Tennis player Ace Wu will be attending his second straight ICG event in the sport of tennis.
“I was really inspired to keep up with my sport,” said Wu about his experience in the Netherlands. “The friends that I met from around the world were amazing. Events like this are so important for the cultural experience. It’s something I’m never going to forget.”
Athletes and coaches along with parents gathered on Tuesday in downtown Kelowna to get team jackets and officially be introduced. They are now ready for the games which will be held July 11 to 16 in New Taipei.
With Kelowna becoming such an integral part of the ICG movement and continually taking part and travelling to the event, the question becomes when or if the city could host another games, like the one in 2011.
“Everybody knows Kelowna and we bring Kelowna to all of these events around the world, promoting out city,” said Schneider. “Our committee is interested and has talked about hosting it again. That would be a decision for the City of Kelowna to make, if we wanted to bid on it again.”
Athletes Attending Games
Tae kwon do