Four members of a Saanich karate club will be representing Vancouver Island at the BC Winter Games this month.
Anika Ocean Elliott, 13, is a member of Varsity Performance Karate led by head coach Kraig Devlin in Cadboro Bay. She will be competing at the Games in Fort St. John from Feb. 20-23.
In December, Elliott won the Female Advanced Kumite – sparring – division at the 2019 Vancouver Island Qualification Tournament in Nanaimo. This qualified her to compete in the BC Games Karate Tournament which is held at the biennial BC Winter Games.
The Games typically draw 1,200 athletes, 300 coaches and 200 officials to showcase the athletic abilities of youths across the province, Devlin noted. It is open to 12- and 13-year-old athletes, who may only compete in the tournament once – hence the Games are only held every two years.
In accordance with the club’s motto – “Kyozon Kyoei” which translates to “together we succeed” – Elliot won’t be attending the Games alone. Other members of the Varsity Performance Karate team will be joining her in Fort St. John. Tanya Crowle will attend as one of two designated coaches and 14-year-old fellow athletes Ella Crowle and Olivia Brodie will be working at the Games as karate officials.
Devlin pointed out that both Ella and Olivia competed and earned medals at the 2018 BC Winters Games in Kamloops. The young athletes have since been working to complete the required courses to become coaches and officials.
Varsity Performance Karate offers programs for children, teens and adults. The club trains on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.