It appeared 18 months of no competitions didn’t dull the edge of Langley Blades speed skaters, who recorded several personal bests when the club hosted the first sanctioned interclub speed skating meet to be held in B.C. since COVID-19 hit.
Blades meet registrar Lisa Butt said even with no competitions, skaters kept up their training.
“There was a lot of hard work during the non-season,” Butt remarked.
Skaters representing 12 clubs from around the Lower Mainland, Kamloops and Vancouver Island attended the Saturday, Oct. 23 event at the Langley Sportsplex.
Clubs included Langley, Ridge Meadows, Matsqui, Mission, Sardis, Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Esquimalt, Peninsula, Kamloops and Port Coquitlam.
Total number of participants was capped at 100, due to pandemic restrictions.
“The kids were so excited and the smiles on their faces made all of the hard work 100 per cent worth it,” Butt commented.
With the B.C. Winter Games set for Vernon in February, skaters have limited opportunities to qualify, Butt explained.
“Skaters aged 12 and 13 are working hard to get qualifying times [for the games] at meets between August and December 2021. Due to the pandemic, there won’t be many opportunities to do this and so our meet was well attended by this age group.”
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There were also many new skaters, who had just started skating this year and last year but had yet to experience a meet, “who were very excited to be racing,” Butt observed.
“We asked them, who wants to race? – and they all put their hands up. Then we asked them if they would win, and they all put their hands up again.”
For more information about the sport and the club, visit www.langleybladesspeedskating.com.
Butt said the Blades are planning an open house some time early in the new year.
“We are hoping that with it also being a Olympic Winter Games year, that there will be increased interest in speed skating as a sport for youth in the community, and that our membership will increase,” Butt elaborated.
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