Friday, July 31, 2009

As taken from The Telegram - 30/07/09 

2009 Canada Summer Games Rebecca Power will lead Newfoundland and Labrador athletes at opening ceremonies

The Telegram

When Newfoundland and Labrador's contingent makes its entrance at the opening ceremonies of the 2009 Canada Summer Games in Charlottetown, P.E.I., next month, it'll be the smiling face of sailor Becky Power leading the way.

The St. John's native was announced as the province's opening ceremonies flagbearer at a rally held at the PowerPlex (Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre) on Crosbie Road Wednesday evening.

"I never thought this would actually happen," Power testified. "There's so many great athletes out there and they decided to choose me. I am really honoured, so happy to be selected."

This will be the second trip to the Canada Games for Power, who will turn 19 during the Games. In 2005, she represented the province in Regina ,where she came sixth in the single-handed byte class.

"I was in second and third for a while, but I dropped back because I had problems with my boat," said Power in recalling her Canada Games experience four years ago.

Power isn't feeling any pressure to medal in P.E.I. and give the province podium finishes in three straight Summer Games - in 2001 at London, Ont., Jonathan and Justin Ladha were third, followed by another bronze-medal performance by Ladha and Daniel Inkpen in 2005.

"But hopefully, we'll get another medal this time," said Power, who studies at the University of British Columbia while training with the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.

"It's definitely going to be tough because there's a lot of really good competitors in my class. But I don't want to put too many expectations on myself. My main goal is to sail well, and hopefully the results will follow."

Power will be among about 400 Newfoundland and Labrador athletes who will compete in the two weeks of the Games in P.E.I., Aug. 15-29

Team Newfoundland and Labrador chef de mission Clayton Welsh of Grand Bank feels there has been an attitude change among the province's athletes, teams, coaches and mission staff - no longer do we feel sub-par to the rest of the country.

"That's what we have going for us," he maintained. "A lot of them have seen the success a lot of our teams have had and deep down in themselves, they know they can compete with other provinces."

"The time, when we go and compete on the mainland and come back with excuses as to why we didn't win, that time is over.

"If the athletes go there and give 100 per cent and they come away with no medals, as long as they gave the effort on the playing surface, we can ask no more."

Rower Stephanie Davis believes athletes in this province are more than capable of returning with good results.

"Rowing's a good example," said Davis. "Last Games, we came back with two medals. It just goes to show that even though we are a small province, and people might not think we have the best facilities or coaches, they're wrong.

"Newfoundland and Labrador athletes can compete with anyone in this country, we just need to believe in ourselves."

Among those taking part in the rally were Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation Clyde Jackman and Patrick's Cove native Carl English, a professional basketball player who competed for this province;s Canada Games hoops team in 1997.

English, who recently signed a one-year deal with a one-year option with Tau Ceramica of Spain's top pro league, spoke briefly about his career, its humble origins, his Games experience and the importance of sticking to your goals. He received a standing ovation from the approximately 500 people in attendance.

"Maybe some of that was for Carl English, but some of it was definitely for what Carl English had to say," insisted Welsh.

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