With a new year upon us, let me start by offering best wishes to all for good health and happiness in 2014.
We catch up this week recognizing an impressive number of Nanaimo athletes who were presented prior to Christmas with Civic Merit Awards for sports achievement.
The awards are sponsored by the City of Nanaimo and are given out twice yearly by the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission. Nomination forms are on the city website, with the criteria basically applying to those who have placed first at a provincial, Western Canadian, national, or international sports event.
The most recent set of awards recognized nearly 100 winners from a variety of sporting competitions. First up were Faye Tuck and Ian Tuck, thanks to their to gold medals at the 2013 high school provincial and Western Canadian wrestling championships. Then came Benjamin Leslie and Mackay Leslie for gold at the Canadian National BMX Series.
Many of the award winners qualifying by having won gold medals at the 2013 B.C. Seniors Games. Recognized were badminton players Jackson Hirota, Mary Mark, Tom Lewis, Marion Drage, Gayle Dunsmoor, Rob Strachan, Noreen Martin and Bill Harney.
Doug Forrest and Pat Garton achieved gold in tennis, while Rose Houle placed first in archery, Tina Robertson in golf and Nancy Stern in pickleball. Dragonboaters recognized for a gold-medal performance were Jacinthe Brouard, Joyce Elmore, Lesley Heavey, Joan Irwin, Laurie MacDonald, Diana Priestley, Audrey Strauss, Arlene Witham and Jim Pierce.
Hockey players who earned gold were Chuck Hewitt, Ken Lamont, Tom Mullan, Bob Simpson, Harvey Thien, Henry Wiebe, Vic Osis and Doug Eamer. John Bolton and Edmondo Coutu were recognized for slo-pitch, along with Pauline Davidson, Gloria Young and Susan Toth for mixed slo-pitch.
Gold medals from swimming events at the Seniors Games resulted in awards to Nancy Ryan, Doreen Scantland, James Scantland and Kathleen Van Doorn.
Track events earned awards for Sven Donaldson in high jump and pole vault, Barry Sparks in long jump and triple jump and Bill Hollingshead in running.
A number of younger track and field athletes earned civic recognition. Alyssa Mousseau was a gold medallist in 800m at the B.C. High School Track and Field Championships. Katelynn Ramage took gold in race walk at nationals. At the B.C. Jamboree Championships, Jason Clare was first in pole vault and Marita DeSchiffart in steeplechase. The same two athletes also got gold in their respective events at the Legion Canadian Youth Track and Field Championships.
As well, Nanaimo Track and Field Club athletes were recognized for attaining gold at the B.C. Junior Development Championships. Honoured were Marina Andersen, Courteney Anderton, Dominic Boar, Colby Day, Julie Dimter, Keaton Heisterman, Madison Heisterman, Maria Johnson, Ethan Katzberg, Jessica Katzberg, Erica MacDonald, Carys Menard, Makayla Mitchell, Jake Putz, Nate Seaman, Stirling Henry, Ryan Veasey, Jayden Watson, Kaitlyn Watson and Olivia Lundman.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair and show good sportsmanship.
Ian Thorpe writes about sports Thursdays.