Four-year-old athlete a hit at track meet
- EFN Staff | March 18, 2016
Kristine Cyr was a huge hit at the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Track and Field Championships. The super fast sprinter tore up the competition in the inaugural toddler dash as she took gold. And at only age 4, there are high hopes for the George Gordon First Nation sprinter and judging by the success of the championships, also for the future of Aboriginal track in Saskatchewan.
Now, the entire future does not rest on her tiny shoulders, but Derek Rope, Meet coordinator of the Championships, says the future is certainly bright for the sport. “For sure the highlight this year was the little toddler’s race. Always awesome when people come out and support athletes. Especially young people,” said Rope who helped start the Championships eight years ago. “And we can see the hard work is catching on. This year participation grew in the open category. That’s for athletes competing beyond high school. That is a testament to some of the work they are doing in communities and with the growth of the sport in the communities. Lots more people coming out in the Summer Games and for NAIG trials.”
Rope and the committee welcomed around 300 athletes this year. The event is a handful and is organized by a board of six people. It takes 40 officials and about 20 volunteers to make the weekend run smoothly. “All of those people are volunteers,” added Rope. “They do this for the love of the sport. The officials are not paid like basketball or hockey. We have a great partnership with the officials and SaskAthletics.”
Michela Cook came from Onion Lake for the weekend event. She earned bronze in High Jump and also in the 200. She was part of the growing group in the open category. “I thought it would be a good competition for me. I am competitive and for the next event, I want first place. I thought it would be a good warm up for me,” said the nineteen year old athlete who attends Lakeland College. “In track, you have to keep your head up and confidence up and you can do it.”
All different sizes and skills sets of athletes were welcomed for the weekend. Each participant received a cool t-shirt, competed against peers and spent a couple cool days at the Field House in Saskatoon. Rope, a volunteer himself, is grateful for the participation and for the support from the community. “Our sponsors are the key to bringing this event around each year,” said Rope. “Amiskuses Semaganis Worme and SIGA are our title sponsors this year and we also had help from BrainSport, Eagle Feather News and the Saskatoon Travel Lodge. We have to keep this meet going because I want to see Kristine Cyr run in 11 years. That little girl is fast.”