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Ontario Winter Games experience 'very rewarding' for athletes (5 photos)

'Everyone is going for first place, but the most important part really is to enjoy the event and remember it always,' says karate coach

People may be snowed in around the region, but that wasn’t stopping many competitors and their supporters from going for the gold at the 2020 Ontario Winter Games.

While Orillia may be the host city for Games, Barrie and other municipalities in the region are helping by holding some events.

This weekend, there are many different competitions throughout Barrie for sports fan to check out. Badminton, fencing, futsal, judo, karate, kickboxing, speed skating, squash, weight lifting, wheelchair basketball and wrestling are taking place at 10 locations from Friday to Sunday. 

Team Ontario staff member and karate coach Daniel Sanchez said there are approximately 100 kids competing in the karate events and with three days of matches, it could be a long weekend for some kids.

“They qualified for this by competing in five tournaments and eventually reaching the Games,” said Sanchez. “It is a long grind for many of the young people, but it is very rewarding.”

For four days (Thursday was opening day), 3,500 participants betweeen the ages of 12 to 18 will compete in 27 different sports.

Barrie, Orillia, Rama, Oro-Medonte and Bracbridge will host not just all the athletes and families, but more than 850 volunteers.

It is estimated that the Ontario Winter Games will bring in $5 million in economic activity. 

Sanchez says he's not thinking of those numbers, though. He’s thinking of the wins, losses and helping the kids get through the many highs and lows of their events.

“When they win, it is easy to talk to a smiling face, show them what they did correct and teach them what they still need to improve,” said Sanchez.

“When they lose, it is tougher," he added. "You have to find that smile and get them ready for their next match. Everyone is going for first place, but the most important part really is to enjoy the event and remember it always.”

A full listing of events, times and locations is available here.


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Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based in Barrie
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