In just 10 days, around 350 Saskatchewan athletes will be vying for gold at the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games in Swift Current.
On Tuesday, the team unveiled its fresh new uniforms and named Regina’s Christian Patterson as flag-bearer for the opening ceremony.
“It means a lot to me that I performed well enough this year, gave back enough to my sport that I was up for consideration and won that honour,” Patterson said.
The 18-year-old competes in canoe/kayak and is in his 10th year. He says it’s an honour to see younger athletes following in his footsteps.
“It’s been such a good experience for me and I know they’re on a good path to success in their life as well,” Patterson said.
With coaches, managers and mission staff, Team Sask is 440 members strong. Athletes will compete head-to-head against top amateur competitors from Alberta, Manitoba and the Territories.
“It’s like a mini Olympics,” Team Sask Chef de Mission Mark Bracken said. “There are opening and closing ceremonies, they all stay in an athlete’s village, eat together, sleep together, there’s all kinds of entertainment. So it’s just a smaller scale of an Olympic games.”
In total, competitors will compete in 16 different sports including baseball, basketball, diving and golf. It’s a chance for young athletes to showcase their skills.
“We’ve got numerous athletes from the province who have been through the Western Canada Summer Games who went on to Canada Games and to represent Canada in the Olympics,” Bracken said.
In all, 1,600 athletes are expected to compete in the games, with more than 10,000 visitors flocking to Swift Current.
It’s the fifth time Saskatchewan has played host to the games, with the first event taking place in Regina in 1975.
The games run from August 9 to the 18th.