Six athletes from the Northwest, two from Terrace, were presented the 2019 Premier’s Awards for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport.
The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I-SPARC) presented their annual Premier Awards at the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre in Hazelton on Oct. 23.
Terrace and Nisga’a Nation’s Olivia Woods, 14, was recognized for taekwondo, and Gitlaxt’aamiks’ Irene Stevens,17, was awarded for both basketball and volleyball.
“Since I got that reward, I feel more confident that I can do better,” says Olivia. She’s been doing taekwondo since she was six years old, she says, attending sessions four times a week. “I was happy because I got to tell people how it was, I was excited and surprised.”
The athletes are not only recognized for their athletic abilities but also their participation at school and in their community.
“She’s dedicated to helping the community as well as keeping her grades… they wanted positive role models,” says Roxanne Woods, Olivia Woods’ mother. “I told her I’m really proud of her… she’s been recognized for what she’s accomplished.”
Other regional athletes include Gitksan’s Destin Starlund, 14, from Gitanyow who was honoured for his involvement in basketball and soccer.
Tahltan Nation’s Lando Ball, 13, from Telkwa was recognized for karate, Haida Nation’s Samantha Wiley, 15, from Prince Rupert/Prince George in fastpitch and hockey, and Haida Nation’s Devan Boyko, 17, from Old Massett for basketball and cross country running.
“The recipients from our region deserve this prestigious award for their hard work, in sport, at school, within their culture and communities,” said DeWayne Robinson, Northwest Regional Lead for I·SPARC in a press release. “Their goals in life clear and achievable towards great futures as leaders.”
I-SPARC, in collaboration with the province, awarded a total of 36 athletes from six different regions after receiving close to 130 nominations this year.
These regional recipients automatically serve as nominees for the Provincial Awards taking place in Kamloops, B.C. on March 16, 2020.