Submitted by Malcolm Hughes
The Royal Canadian Legion sponsors several important Youth initiatives both locally and Provincially as well as across the country. One of these is the National Track and Field Championships held annually at various venues that rotate every second year from Province to Province.
On Wednesday, Aug 5th, 37 athletes aged between 14 and 18 from Alberta/NWT Command will fly from Calgary or Edmonton to Montreal. QC and on to the campus of Lionel-Groulx College in St. Therese for the 39th edition of these games.
They were selected from a Provincial meet held in Calgary earlier this summer and represent the best young athletes in the Province. They will join a similar number of athletes from each of the other nine commands of the Royal Canadian Legion in three days of high level competition.
The Alberta Athletics Association appoints coaches who look after the technical and performance aspects of the meet. Meanwhile, and for all aspects of their well-being, the athletes are under the voluntary supervision of Legion appointed Chaperones. For the third successive year, Okotoks Legion Members Malcolm and Jenny Hughes have taken on the task along with two members from Northern Alberta Dave Basham and Tanya Doyle.
For many young athletes, this is their introduction to high intensity national competition, while for others who have attended previously it is a further opportunity to cement their places as future Olympians. Some of the older athletes have recently returned from the World Youth Championships in Colombia and it is no surprise that most of the athletes who represented Canada at recent Olympic, World, Commonwealth and Pan Am competitions were graduates of the Legion Programme.
The Legion’s sponsorship in this important youth programme goes back much further than the 39 years and extends to the early 1950’s. Information on this as well as the composition of the event can be found under the “Youth” tab of the Legion’s website at www.legion.ca.