Six Beaufort Delta athletes are competing in the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, and mission staff member Colin Pybus calls that the opportunity of a lifetime.
“This is the ultimate expression of activity and sport,” said Pybus from Winnipeg, where he and the first contingent of Team NWT athletes are participating in the summer games.
The event is split over two weeks, with about half of the sports happening the first week and the other half the second. Because of that, only Kolbi Bernhardt from Tuktoyaktuk, who graduated at East Three Secondary School this year, is in Winnipeg from the region currently. She’s competing on the women’s soccer team.
“This is the best level of competition a lot of our NWT athletes are going to see,” said Pybus. “I see so much value in the process in getting yourself to the point that you would be eligible to make a team and compete at this level. The dedication, the training, the teamwork. The benefits of sport are extremely well known. It sets the tone for the rest of your life.”
Sports teach so many important intangibles that translate to the workplace and all aspects of life, such as being a good leader and cooperation, he continued.
Many of the athletes at the games are the top in their class nationally and compete in international events.
“This is fantastic opportunity,” said Pybus. “This is the highest level of youth sport that the country has to offer for a lot of disciplines. Our NWT athletes are competing on a national stage against, in a lot of cases, the best of the best.”
He spoke especially high of Bernhardt.
“I have nothing but the most amazing respect for Kolbi and her effort and dedication to her sport,” said Pybus.
“She’s a fantastic young woman. I’m nothing but proud for Kolbi as an individual. For her to basically be one of the few community kids on a soccer team that is predominantly made up of Yellowknife and Hay River athletes is a testament to her dedication, her skill level and her willingness to put in the time and the energy in practicing.”
Younger athletes in the region should have their eye on the games and start dreaming about the next event in 2021.
This is the time to start making yourself known to Sport North and other sport organizations, said Pybus.
“If you’re 13-14 and you really like soccer, in four years you’re going to be 17-18 and be the perfect age for competing for Team NWT in the next round of summer games,” he said.
This Saturday, the contingent of athletes will switch over for the second week of the games.
Jenna Guy and Kierra McDonald, both from Inuvik, will be competing in the swimming events.
Dawson Elias and Cody Greenland, from Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik respectively, will be playing for the men’s volleyball team.
Liam Larocque, from Inuvik, will be playing on the men’s basketball team.
FACT FILE: Beaufort Delta representatives at Canada Summer Games
Kolbi Bernhardt – Soccer – Tuktoyaktuk
Jenna Guy – Swimming – Inuvik
Kierra McDonald – Swimming – Inuvik
Dawson Elias – Volleyball – Inuvik/Tuktoyaktuk
Cody Greenland – Volleyball – Inuvik
Liam Larocque – Basketball – Inuvik
Stacey Christie – Mission Staff – Inuvik
Cliff Gregory – Mission Staff – Tsiigehtchic
Colin Pybus – Mission Staff – Inuvik
Natasha Kulikowski – Mission Staff – Inuvik
Source: Team NWT