B.C.’s girls lacrosse team competes at the 2017 North American Indigenous Games in Toronto (ISPARC).

Indigenous athletes invited to apply for Team B.C.

The Halifax 2020 North American Indigenous Games will be the city’s largest multi-sport event.

The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council is now accepting applications from athletes who wish to represent Team BC at the Halifax 2020 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG).

Sports currently open for applications include archery, track and field and swimming. More information will be available soon for badminton, golf, rifle shooting, and wrestling.

In 2017, Penticton Indian Band member William Casmir-Eneas helped the B.C. boys’ basketball team go undefeated, earning a gold medal, at the games in Toronto. Almost three years later, he still remembers the games vividly, “I’ve dedicated my whole life to basketball. The experience was phenomenal. Winning gold with my team was something I’ll never forget,” said Casmir-Eneas.

After holding a perfect record through the preliminary rounds, Casmir-Eneas and the 2017 boys continued to dominate on the court, beating Wisconsin in the finals 80-63. Casmir-Eneas picked up 10 points and 10 rebounds in the final.

Going into the games Casmir-Eneas wasn’t sure what to expect, “I was nervous because I wasn’t sure what the competition was going to be like or anything” said Casmir-Eneas. However, he’d urge any potential athletes to do whatever they can to participate in the games, “Just commit and push yourself past your limits, it will be worth it,” advised Casmir-Eneas.

READ MORE: B.C. adds $1.46M to offset costs for 2020 Indigenous Games athletes

The Games will be the largest multi-sport event ever held in Halifax. To be held on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq, the games present a unique opportunity to highlight Indigenous and Mi’kmaq culture. Over 5,000 participants from across North America will compete.

Team B.C. will compete in 13 sports at the 2020 NAIG from July 12 to 19, providing 520 Indigenous athletes, aged about 13 to 19 years old, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience major international competition and to share and celebrate their cultural heritages with other youth from across the continent.

“This is a great opportunity for our athletes to not only compete at an international competition in their sport but to also celebrate our cultural unity and pride,” said Lara Mussel Savage, Team BC Chef de Mission. “What makes NAIG unique is ensuring the connection between culture and sport in every aspect of the Games creating a powerful impact for all participants.”

For the sports of canoe/kayak, volleyball and lacrosse, athletes have been advanced to Team BC development squads where final selections will be announced at the end of spring camp. The softball and volleyball development squads will be officially announced in the coming weeks. While team B.C.’s coaching staff have already confirmed the final rosters for basketball and soccer.

READ MORE: Vernon multi-sport athlete cracks Team BC roster, wins major award

Interested athletes must complete a formal online expression of interest application. Information about eligibility, selection processes and the athlete expression of interest forms found at www.isparc.ca/performance-sport/teambcnaig2020/.



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

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