Twenty teen athletes are gearing up to represent Hamilton at the 50th edition of the International Children’s Games next week.
The group will fly to Taipei, Taiwan to compete in boy’s volleyball, swimming and girl’s basketball.
Girl’s basketball coach, Janine Gaunt says it’s tough to anticipate international match-ups but knows with four of eight players closing 6 feet tall, that height will help along with a few other key strengths.
“Being a basketball team, having only eight players, they’re going to have to be fast, conditioned.”
Greg Maychak, a member of the committee for the games has every confidence in the athletes going on to compete, citing recent success.
“In Innsbruck we won nineteen gold medals both in boys hockey and two in figure skating, we’ve certainly been well represented at the games.”
Maychak believes this trip is an important first glimpse for athletes at the realm of international competition, similar to the Olympics.
He points to basketball player Shona Thorburn as an example.
An athlete who made her debut at the games in track and field.
Beyond the competition, the International Children’s Games has proven to be a cultural learning experience for participants as they develop new connections and in many cases friendship.
“We’ve talked to kids who have been at the games who now have traveled to England or traveled as far as Africa to reconnect with friends they made at the games, this is years later” said Maychak.
Hamilton has been competing in the games since 1989 and was the first north american city to host.
This year’s summer games run from July 11th until the 16th.