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Speedskaters get international exposure
Three personal bests and two medals at International Children's Game

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, February 17, 2011

KELOWNA, B.C. - Four speedskaters from the territory got international racing experience and some achieved personal best times at a competition in B.C.

NNSL photo/graphic

Madison Pilling, left, of Fort Simpson and Aimee Yurris of Yellowknife were part of the four-person team that competed in speed skating at the International Children's Winter Games in Kelowna, B.C. - photo courtesy of Val Gendron

Robert Harold, Madison Pilling and Kevin Roche from Fort Simpson along with Aimee Yurris of Yellowknife represented the village at the International Children's Winter Games in Kelowna, B.C., from Jan. 26 to 31. Fourteen countries sent a delegation to the games.

Harold and Yurris won the group's only medals after placing third in the 1,500 metre relay. For the race the teams were chosen by random draw from all of the competitors. Harold and Yurris were paired with a skater from Canmore, Alta.

During the relay each skater completed two laps of the 13.5 laps in the race.

Harold, who was the third person on the ice for his team, said their performance felt good during the race and that feeling was confirmed by the standings.

In addition to winning a medal, Harold, 13, also skated two personal bests. In the 500 metre he took four seconds off his time bringing it down to one minute and 69 hundredths of a second. He also took 20 seconds off of his 1,500 metre to reach three minutes and 14 seconds. Harold placed 10th in both distances.

Harold said he was faster because he had different skaters to test himself against.

"I got a little more competitive," he said.

Madison Pilling also skated a personal best. Pilling dropped 25 seconds off of her 1,500 metre to finish in two minutes and 59 seconds. Pilling finished sixth in both the 500 and 1,500 metre out of a field of 13.

Competing at the games allowed the skaters to meet a number of goals, said coach Val Gendron.

The event gave the skaters international exposure as well as racing exposure.

"They don't have enough exposure here to racing," she said.

Due to the lack of competition in their home communities and the territory, the skaters don't learn how to react in tight situations during races, Gendron said. At the games the skaters got experience making decisions, such as when to pass, during key points in their races.

The games also gave the skaters the opportunity to race on the track the Western Canadian Short Track Championships will be held on in March, a competition they're eligible to attend.

"Overall our kids did extremely well representing our community and working towards their personal goals," said Gendron.

Gendron said the village is now looking forward to talking soccer players to Scotland this summer for the International Children's Summer Games.

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