Naval Com­mu­ni­ca­tor Com­petes for Canada

RCN News - - Contents -

Sweat drip­ping from the brow. Heart rac­ing like a ship’s en­gine at full ahead. Raw emo­tion kept in check by the need to fo­cus on the task at hand. Many of us have felt this kind of ten­sion and ex­cite­ment on ex­er­cise or on de­ploy­ment, but few mem­bers of the CAF have felt all of this range of emo­tions while rep­re­sent­ing both their fel­low ser­vice mem­bers and the en­tire na­tion at one of the world’s largest sport­ing events.

So it was for Or­di­nary Sea­man (OS) Yvette Yong, fight­ing on be­half of her coun­try at the 2015 Pan Amer­i­can Games in Toronto. OS Yong is a na­tive Van­cou­verite and mem­ber of the RCN. A Naval Com­mu­ni­ca­tor by trade serv­ing with HMCS York in Toronto, she com­peted in the taek­wondo com­pe­ti­tion in front of fam­ily, friends, fel­low sailors, and thou­sands of Cana­di­ans who packed the sell-out crowd at the Her­shey Cen­tre in Mis­sis­sauga.

OS Yong en­tered the com­pe­ti­tion ranked first in the world and tenth in the Olympic World Rank­ing, los­ing a heart break­ing bronze medal match that was tied up un­til the last few sec­onds. “I couldn’t have asked for any bet­ter,” said OS Yong. “In all my 16 years in taek­wondo, I re­ally felt like I was sup­ported that day by ev­ery sin­gle per­son, and that’s all I needed.”

A sea of white uni­forms dot­ted the crowd in sup­port of OS Yong that day, and word that RCN mem­bers were in the crowd reached her even be­fore she stepped off the ath­letes ’ bus. “Peo­ple were al­ready talk­ing be­fore I got off the bus be­cause a few of the sailors were out­side, and I felt so proud,” said OS Yong. “It gave me an op­por­tu­nity to speak about the mil­i­tary and the Navy in par­tic­u­lar that day, and with a lot of friends, coaches and ev­ery­day Cana­di­ans who wouldn’t nor­mally get to learn about the mil­i­tary. I just kept telling them these are my peo­ple,” she added.

OS Yong didn’t have long to re­cover from her com­pe­ti­tion; she was on a flight to Colom­bia to com­pete shortly there­after, where she won a sil­ver medal. Her next match will take place within a few weeks in Rus­sia – one of four Olympic Grand Prix qual­i­fy­ing events she will take part in over the next year dur­ing the lead up to Rio. Her goal is to earn a spot in the top six in the hopes of earn­ing a di­rect bye to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Asked if she was ex­cited about com­pet­ing in Brazil, OS Yong noted that she won gold in the 2011 Mil­i­tary World Games in Rio de Janeiro, and was also named tour­na­ment MVP. “It was one of my best com­pe­ti­tions to-date,” she stated. OS Yong is ex­cited to rep­re­sent the CAF once again at the 2015 Mil­i­tary World Games in Korea in Oc­to­ber. With her solid work ethic and com­mit­ment to ser­vice, the sup­port from her fel­low ser­vice mem­bers comes as no sur­prise. “I’m so proud to rep­re­sent the Cana­dian Armed Forces in uni­form and through sport,” said the ath­lete. Not­ing the dozens of sailors who at­tended to sup­port her, the feel­ings are cer­tainly mu­tual.

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