Four Surrey-area athletes are among the provincial winners of the 2020 Premier’s Awards for Sports Excellence for Indigenous Youth.
An awards ceremony was broadcast live Wednesday, October 20 by the Indigenous Council for Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation (I · SPARC), with host Blake Price.
“Each recipient embodies the qualities of a leader, is connected to their community and is committed to their education and future goals,” said I · SPARC President Corinne McKay.
“These exceptional athletes have shown perseverance and commitment to their sport during this difficult time.”
The 10 winners include Surrey athletes Hillary Birkett (13, Métis Nation), Colton Cameron (18, Métis Nation), Kendrick Lounsbury (16, Namgis First Nation) and Taya Suttill (18, Métis Nation).
The other six recipients are Grace Currie (18, Quesnel, North Central Métis), Ellashani George (16, Duncan, Kwikwasut’inuxw, Ławitʼsis and Oneida), Clinton Kaboni (18, Merritt, Nipissing First Nation), Aidan Lenhart-Baker ( 25, West Vancouver, Squamish Nation), Olivia Lounsbury (18, Chilliwack, Tahltan Nation) and Kieran McKay (22, Vancouver, Michel Band).
A 30-minute “celebration video” is posted on the I · SPARC YouTube channel, and each athlete will have their photo and bio on display at the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
Working with the provincial government, I SPARC launched a regional call for nominations for the Premier’s Awards at the end of 2020, receiving nominations from each of I SPARC’s six regions (Fraser, Interior, Northeast , Northwest, Vancouver Coast and Vancouver Island).
Nominations were open for Indigenous athletes under the age of 25 “who have competed in high performance sport, have demonstrated a commitment to their education and culture, and have promoted healthy and active lifestyles.” Six athletes were selected from each region (North East and North West were combined this year), resulting in 30 regional recipients. Of the 30 regional recipients, 10 athletes were selected as provincial recipients for the provincial awards.
Among the Surrey area winners, Colton Cameron has excelled in hockey, football, basketball, baseball, soccer, track and field and ultimate frisbee, while Hillary Birkett is active in figure skating and l ‘Athletics. Kendrick Lounsbury is a soccer player and Taya Suttill plays soccer and basketball.
“Sport has had a profound impact on my life and made a positive difference in the lives of young athletes in the province,” said Premier John Horgan. “Every young person is capable of achieving great things. This year’s recipients stand out both on and off the court as exceptional athletes and community leaders. We are proud to recognize these high performance young athletes as part of our province’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
I · SPARC is a provincial organization established with the goal of improving health outcomes for Indigenous peoples by supporting and encouraging physically active individuals, families and communities. For more details, visit isparc.ca.
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