Eight of Abbotsford’s junior curlers join more than 400 international athletes attending the International Children’s Games in Kelowna this week.
The International Children’s Winter Games will be held January 26-31 in Kelowna.
“We are so proud to be cheering on our youth curling teams at the Children’s Games in Kelowna,” said Mayor George W. Peary. ‘It is vitally important to encourage and support healthy active youths in our community, and these two teams are a testament to what can be accomplished with some hard work and dedication.”
The junior program now has approximately 70 curlers at all levels coached by local Abbotsford experts Michele Baratelli and Bob Fatkin and assisted by Jordan Kiss. Each team spends at least five hours a week in practice and then play in adult leagues at least once a week to improve their level of play.
Baratelli and Fatkin have been together for almost three seasons and their dream of building up the junior program to the point where they have athletes ready to compete in other regions is finally starting to come to fruition.
Taylor White, aged 14 and Skip for Team White, is leading a competitive team for the first time and in her preparation for the games has shown herself to be a leader. Team White also includes Brittany Pawliuk, 13, Natasha Cummings, 12, and Mikaela Turnbull, 12.
Team Parker is skipped by Nick Parker, 14, and his team is made up of Vincint Wood, 13, Nicolaus Bonneau, 12, and Carson Keith, 13.
This team has played together for almost two years and is also participating in the B.C. Provincial Zone 3 playdowns. Their anticipated highlight will be playing against the team from Seoul, Korea.
Nick Parker has been honing his skills skipping by playing in the Wednesday Night Men’s league and the Optimist Highpoint Division 1 league.
“What an opportunity this is to be able to meet athletes from other countries,” said Parker. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world – winning is secondary.”
Kelowna will host international youth, age 12 to 15 for a week of fun filled games, sporting events, festivals and more. The Games aim to enable, develop and advance the meeting, understanding and friendship of students from different countries around the world and promote the Olympic Ideal. For more information on the International Children’s Games – Winter Sports, visit http://internationalchildrensgames-kelowna2011.com/