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Olympic hopefuls invited to open tryouts in Clairmont

Local athletes have an upcoming chance at national exposure. The RBC Training Ground program is coming to Alberta for its second year, and the Grande Prairie area has been picked for a local qualifier.

Athletes of all abilities between the age of 14 and 25 will be tested on their power, speed, strength, and endurance. Miranda Sallis with the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary says the scouts are looking for Olympic potential.

“To basically go across the country and find the best of the best and give some resources to these athletes to hopefully put them on the podium for Canada one day.”

Those who hit performance benchmarks will be invited to the regional finals in Calgary, and the top athlete from each will get a trip to the 2018 Winter Olympics. Up to 40 people will also get extra help like funding, coaching or mentorship through the Canadian Olympic Foundation and RBC.

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The bank and COF have partnered up with the Canadian Olympic Committee and CBC Sports to offer this program for a second year. This is the first time it’s come to Canada, and Sallis says she wanted to make sure our region was involved.

“We wanted to search high and low, and often northern Alberta gets overlooked. We really wanted to emphasize that the smaller town communities have incredible talent, and so this is a really unique opportunity to head that way.”

Sallis emphasizes that they’re looking for people with overall athletic abilities, and are not just good at one sport in particular. Even if someone isn’t selected to advance to the regional finals, their data will be shared with several national sport programs, who could still be in touch.

“You might end up with an invite from [Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton] to come and check out what they’re all about, or it might be that you’re recognized by Rugby Canada to a junior camp,” explains Sallis. “There’s just so many layers of opportunity.”

Other national sport organizations involved again are Athletics Canada, Canoe Kayak Canada, Cycling Canada, Rowing Canada, while new this year are Alpine Canada, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, Judo Canada, Triathlon Canada, and Water Polo Canada.

Grande Prairie’s qualifier is March 18th at the Crosslink County Sportsplex in Clairmont. So far, registration is the highest of any other Alberta community. To sign up for a time slot, register online by March 11th. It’s free to take part and participants will get a t-shirt.

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