A ma­jor hon­our

Team P.E.I. re­ceives pres­ti­gious John Fletcher Spirit Award dur­ing clos­ing cer­e­monies

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY JA­SON SIM­MONDS jp­sports@jour­nal­pi­oneer.com Twit­ter.com/Jp­sport­sJa­son https://www.face­book.com/ ja­son.sim­monds.180

TORONTO – Team P.E.I. could not have asked for a bet­ter end­ing to the 2017 North Amer­i­can Indige­nous Games.

The 40-mem­ber con­tin­gent, con­sist­ing of ath­letes, coaches, chap­er­ones and mis­sion staff, was named this year’s re­cip­i­ent of the John Fletcher Spirit Award dur­ing Satur­day night’s clos­ing cer­e­monies. The award is pre­sented to the con­tin­gent that best demon­strates the spirit of team­work, re­spect, fair play and integrity.

“It is a very pres­ti­gious award,” said Team P.E.I. chefde-mis­sion Craig Mac­Dougall, who noted the event at­tracted 4,800 ath­letes from across North Amer­ica. “It’s a re­flec­tion of both our coaches and ath­letes.

“When they are rec­og­nized from chef de mis­sions from across North Amer­ica, that says a lot.”

Mac­Dougall de­scribed re­ceiv­ing the pres­ti­gious award as an “in­cred­i­ble mo­ment.” He con­tin­ued: “You go to these Games hop­ing the kids en­joy it and have fun, but when you re­ceive an award like that it is ex­tra spe­cial and en­cour­ages you to keep do­ing what you are do­ing.”

Suc­cess­ful week

Over­all, Mac­Dougall de­scribed the week­long com­pe­ti­tion as a suc­cess for Team P.E.I., which was rep­re­sented in five sports – badminton, swim­ming, ath­let­ics, 3D archery and ri­fle shoot­ing. He noted a lot more than fi­nal scores and re­sults go into gaug­ing suc­cess.

“A lot of kids are leav­ing with ac­com­plish­ments they may not have ever thought were pos­si­ble,” said Mac­Dougall, who noted Team P.E.I.’s ath­letes reg­is­tered a num­ber of per­sonal-best per­for­mances in all sports. “It’s quite an ex­pe­ri­ence for all of us.”

P.E.I. won three bronze medals – Lo­gen Lewis in 3D archery, Nikeda Sark in un­der16 sin­gles badminton and Sark and Keely Dy­ment in un­der-16 dou­bles badminton. All three ath­letes are from Len­nox Is­land.

“Hav­ing the kids stand on the podium rep­re­sent­ing the prov­ince and their com­mu­nity was an amaz­ing feel­ing,” beamed Mac­Dougall. “It was a to­tal team ef­fort, and couldn’t have been done with­out the good coach­ing, the work of the mis­sion staff and the sup­port of their fam­i­lies and com­mu­nity.”

“It is a very pres­ti­gious award. It’s a re­flec­tion of both our coaches and ath­letes. When they are rec­og­nized from chefs de mis­sions from across North Amer­ica, that says a lot.” Team P.E.I. chef-de-mis­sion Craig Mac­Dougall

Mov­ing for­ward

Mac­Dougall said one goal for the next North Amer­i­can Indige­nous Games in 2020 is to in­crease the num­ber of P.E.I. ath­letes.

“We have kids al­ready talk­ing about want­ing to come back and win gold, and there are a few who want to coach now,” said Mac­Dougall. “These Games have a very pos­i­tive ef­fect on the ath­letes.

“As they grow, they are re­ceiv­ing very good coach­ing and then they want to con­tinue to be in­volved and give back.”

Mac­Dougall, who is from Summerside, said Team P.E.I.’s coaches, chap­er­ones and mis­sion staff will meet shortly and dis­cuss what worked and what needs to be changed. Then the prepa­ra­tions for 2020 will be­gin.

“It’s been an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” as­sessed Mac­Dougall. “We are go­ing to take a cou­ple of days to re­flect and then move for­ward. We are pumped for 2020.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Team P.E.I. chef-de-mis­sion Craig Mac­Dougall, sec­ond left, ac­cepts the pres­ti­gious John Fletcher Spirit Award dur­ing the clos­ing cer­e­monies of the 2017 North Amer­i­can Indige­nous Games in Toronto, Ont., on Satur­day night. Also tak­ing part in the pre­sen­ta­tion are, from left: Michael Cvitkovic, gen­eral man­ager of the North Amer­i­can Indige­nous Games host so­ci­ety; Mar­cia Trudeau-Bomberry, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the North Amer­i­can Indige­nous Games host so­ci­ety; Robin En­man, Team P.E.I.’s badminton head coach, and Dun­can Craw­ford, Team P.E.I’s 3D archery head coach.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Mem­bers of Team P.E.I. pose for a group shot at the clos­ing cer­e­monies of the North Amer­i­can Indige­nous Games in Toronto, Ont., on Satur­day night. Team P.E.I. was named the re­cip­i­ent of the John Fletcher Spirit Award, which goes to the con­tin­gent that best demon­strates the spirit of team­work, re­spect, fair play and integrity. The P.E.I. rep­re­sen­ta­tives ar­rived home early Sun­day even­ing.

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