Richmond set to stand tall at Canada Games

By Don Fennell

Published 2:41 PST, Thu February 14, 2019

Five of BC’s eight-member squash team set to represent the province at the upcoming Canada Winter Games hail from Richmond.

And all are poised to challenge for podium positions.

Gabriel Yun, 15, from Sport Central’s West Coast Squash Academy will be aiming to repeat his gold-medal performance at the 2018 Canadian Junior National Squash Championships, while fellow Sport Central member and JN Burnett Secondary student Quan Ng, 17, looks to build on his silver-medal showing at the provincial under-17 finals of a year ago. So too will James Toth, 16, also a Burnett student who finished second at the BC’s under’17s in 2018.

Sisters Sara and Cindy Cao, 15 and 17 respectively, train at the River Club. Sara competed at the 2018 Pan-American championships and was second at the under-15 Canadian juniors last year. Cindy placed fourth at the 2018 Canadian juniors and sixth in the junior open.

Badminton is another sport at which Richmond athletes hope to excel. Coached by Darryl Yung, Wendy Zhang trains at Clear One Badminton.

“It is a rare experience to represent Team BC and I’m excited to compete in the team event with my teammates,” said Zhang.

Coached by Phyllis Chan, Richmond’s Katie Nagai of Ace Badminton will also be competing in the Canada Games, along with Kevin Lou of Ace Badminton Centre.

Hockey, as always, will garner plenty of attention and three Richmond players will play prominent roles for Team BC. Two of the best players in their age group in Canada will suit up for Team BC’s female team; Katie Reilly on defence and Katie Chan up front. Reilly is currently attending Shattuck-St Mary’s in Minnesota, while Chan attends Delta Hockey Academy. The men’s team will feature forward Michael Abgrall of the Burnaby Winter Club Academy.

Adi Shapira, 16, of Vancouver belongs to the Richmond Archery Club and will represent the province in the women’s recurve division. Shooting only since 2017, Shapira won two gold medals at the 2018 BC Winter Games in Kamloops and another at the 2018 junior indoor championships.

The Steveston Judo Club has a long and proud history of success, and Ian Ryder and Caleigh Kuramoto are carrying on the tradition. Kuramoto will compete in the women’s -57 kilogram weight class, while Ryder will compete in the men’s 81 kilogram weight class.

Hailey Takasaki will suit up with Team BC’s talented women’s ringette team, while David Lin is set to compete in table tennis and Ella Jalandoon in gymnastics. Recently-crowned Canadian Novice men’s figure skating champion, Wesley Chiu will look to continue his mastery on the ice.

“Competing at the Canada Winter Games is an exceptional athletic achievement,” said Lisa Beare, BC’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “The national stage showcases the talent, dedication and spirit our athletes, coaches and staff have in sport and it gives all of us the opportunity to show our support and cheer them on.”

The 2019 Canada Winter Games are set to open Feb. 15 in Red Deer, with 251 BC athletes competing in the 21-sport event. The Games will continue until March 3.

Team BC finished third behind Quebec (141 medals) and Ontario (111 medals) at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George with 88 medals—21 gold, 34 silver, and 33 bronze.

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