Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

SETTING THE PACE – Cross country skier Sasha Masson, centre, outlasted the 17 other athletes in his grouping doing the beep test as part of the RBC Training Grounds Saturday at the Canada Games Centre.

Yukon athletes test their physical prowess

On Saturday, 56 Yukon athletes participated in the RBC Training Grounds to test their physical and athletic ability at the Canada Games Centre.

By John Tonin on May 15, 2019

On Saturday, 56 Yukon athletes participated in the RBC Training Grounds to test their physical and athletic ability at the Canada Games Centre.

Founded in 2016, the RBC Training Grounds is a series of regional combine events designed to help partnering sports uncover athletes with Olympic potential. At RBC Training Ground events, athletes between the ages of 14 and 25 are tested in speed, strength, power, and endurance by National Sport Organizations and the Canadian Olympic Paralympic Sport Institute Network.

Results are then compared against high-performance benchmarks, with (up to) the top 30 athletes receiving funding to pursue their Olympic aspirations.

According to their website, “over the first three years of the RBC Training Ground Program, 5,500 athletes have been tested across Canada. Of these 5,500 athletes, 600 of them were identified as high potential and invited for further testing with National Sport Organizations.”

During the Training Grounds, the 28 male and female athletes were put through five baseline tests - the vertical jump (cm) 10m sprint, 30m sprint, isometric mid-thigh pull (kg), and the beep test.

It was the first time the event has been held North of 60 and Technical Lead for the RBC Training Ground and 1992 Olympic Cyclist Kurt Innes said they did not know what to expect beforehand.

“There was an openness and willingness to try,” said Innes. “We weren’t sure what we were going to see.”

Innes said the results from the Yukon athletes were encouraging.

“The quality was quite good,” said Innes. “The Yukon athletes performed quite well. We were encouraged by the results and performances.”

A variety of athletes from a multitude of different sports participated in the RBC Training Grounds.

Before the event reached Whitehorse, chief communications officer at Stellick Marketing Communications, Brian Findlay, said the event is open and free to any athlete. As well, the RBC Training Grounds is just to test physical ability to find the gems, and it is about pairing the athlete with a sport even if they have not played it before.

The average age of the participating athletes was 17.5 and Innes said that these athletes have a few years of peak athletic ability and the Training Ground is here to show them different avenues to their Olympic dreams.

“It is up to the athlete to take the opportunity,” said Innes. “While in high school at least be welcoming to new ideas and hopefully this gives them an idea of their physical greatness. Give yourself the opportunity to try something new.”

Innes said he could see the culture of activity in Whitehorse while he was out and about in the city.

“I went for a morning run and I was blown away by the amount of people out,” said Innes. “You can see the culture of being active is real.”

Maude Molgat, a gymnast, and Smith were the high scorers in the vertical jump test. Molgat reached 58.2cm and Smith 79.5.

Cross country skiers Amanda Thomson and Romeo Champagne ran the fastest 10m sprints.

Arnica Bulmer, hockey, and Champagne were the fastest athletes in the 30m sprints.

Orlina Menard, hockey, and Vincent Menard, archery, topped the scales of the isometric mid-thigh pull. Orlina did 140kg and Vincent 232kg.

Thomson and Christine Moser, soccer, tied for the top result in the beep test. Cross country skier Derek Duelling had the highest test score for the boys.

Innes said he and the fellow coaches who ran the RBC Training Ground in Whitehorse said they were excited by the feedback and that they will be looking to run move more events, maybe not to Whitehorse immediately, but to the North.

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