Nanaimo athletes made it to the podium, and some made it to the very top.
Ten locals competed at the Western Canada Summer Games this month at Wood Buffalo, Alta.
Some of the best results from Nanaimo athletes came on the judo mats. Alicia Fiandor was a double gold medallist, winning her 57-kilogram division and also helping B.C. win the team division. Vanessa Kruger also won gold in team judo and a silver in her 48kg division.
Another double gold medallist was track athlete Andrew deGroot, who won the 400-metre race and also the 4x400m relay.
In team sports, Jayden Marsh helped B.C. to gold in baseball, Sophie Weaver was part of B.C.’s gold-medal-winning soccer team, Lantzville’s Hailey Kjaer and Team B.C. took gold on the softball diamond, and Ryan MacDonald and Alex Staniforth helped B.C. to gold in basketball.
The judoka Fiandor had to show her grit to win her individual gold medal.
She lost her opening bout 5-0 to Saskatchewan’s Miranda Bellisle, but earned the right to a rematch in the final, turned things around and won 10-0.
Bellisle was a strong opponent, but wasn’t technically sound, said Fiandor.
“I just needed to control her and then I could throw her after that…” said the Nanaimo Judo Club member. “She started to panic once I grabbed her arm, because she couldn’t do anything. She got off-balance and I threw her with my main technique, tiatoshi.”
Fiandor said at most tournaments, there isn’t an opportunity to avenge losses, so she said she was fortunate to get the chance.
“I felt pretty proud and was happy that I was able to beat her,” she said. “It’s always good to beat someone that beat you.”
Over at the baseball diamond, meanwhile, Team B.C. was a favourite from the get-go.
“It was some good calibre of ball, they were all pretty good, hard-fought matches…” said Marsh. “After the first few round-robin games, winning all those games, we knew that we could have a chance at taking the tournament.”
He had individual success, pitching in two games and giving up one hit and no runs over 4 1/3 innings. He also batted in two games, going 1-for-2 both times.
“Pitching in those games that I pitched in, it was really good to pitch against those better hitters and have such success,” Marsh said.
It was a great feeling, he said, when Saskatchewan grounded out and Team B.C. won the final 7-3. The champs charged the mound and soaked in the cheers.
“The crowds that came out to the Western Canada Summer Games were awesome,” Marsh said. “Having all those other B.C. athletes come out and cheer you on was great.”
The Games were held Aug. 7-16. British Columbia finished atop the medal standings with 280, ahead of runner-up Alberta, with 226.