Photos by Kevin Bogetti-Smith, Team BC
It was the coldest February in 40 years, but the finest B.C. team ever.
With Richmond athletes standing tall, Team BC completed the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer with a record 30 gold medals over the two-weeks of sports competitions.
“What an incredible performance despite trying circumstances,” said Team BC Chef de Mission Jennifer Scott. “Our athletes and coaches pushed themselves to the limit to create outstanding performances for this province.”
Led by captain Kate Reilly of Richmond, B.C. won its first medal—bronze—in women’s hockey since 1991.
“It feels awesome,” Reilly said after B.C.’s 5-4 win over Ontario. “The whole game my heart was racing. We just (had) a great team and that last five seconds of the game you could really see it. I had goose bumps and all I could think about in those last moments was don’t let it get to the net. My teammates had a great block and I just went crazy on the inside.”
Reilly was joined on the team by fellow Richmondite Kaitlin Chan.
Richmond athletes also stood out on the badminton court, with Wendy Zhang—selected flag bearer for the closing ceremonies—leading the way.
A junior national team member, Zhang won gold medals in women’s singles and doubles. The Pan American junior silver medallist, she is ranked third nationally.
“It (was) a huge honour to not only represent B.C. at the Canada Winter Games, but to also be the flag bearer,” she said. “I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to show my B.C. pride at my very first multi-sport event.”
Zhang is preparing to compete at the upcoming junior elite competition in Calgary, and the Pan Americans in Mexico in late April.
There was a silver lining for Wesley Chiu of Richmond after he finished second in the men’s singles figure skating competition after being disappointed with his long program which earned him a score of 75.12 points.
“It wasn’t what I was planning on doing (but) I really liked my last few elements. I felt like I tried not to give up and pushed through to the end.”
Connaught Skating Club teammate David Li, also of Richmond, won bronze.
“I didn’t expect it. I just wanted to come here and do my best and have a good experience,” he said.
Dedicated training also paid dividends for Steveston judoka, with both Caleigh Kuramoto and Ian Ryder reaching the podium. Kuramoto won gold in the women’s team event and silver in the female -57 kilogram class, while Ryder won silver with his mates in the men’s team event and gold in the men’s +81 kilogram final in a dominating performance.
“That’s a throw that I practice a lot,” Ryder said. “The uchi mata throw is one I am confident with.”
David Lim of Richmond defeated Tommy Xu of Quebec for bronze in men’s table tennis play.