Manitoba

Medal favourites: Manitobans to watch at the Canada Summer Games

On Friday, thousands of athletes from across Canada marched together in the opening ceremonies of the Canada Summer Games, held this year in Winnipeg. Events that will test their skills on a national level begin Saturday morning.

Team leader Barry Moroz says 3 of his athletes look like solid medal bets

The medals for the 2017 Canada Summer Games were revealed Friday in Winnipeg. Team Manitoba chef de mission Barry Moroz says Manitoba could earn one in every sport. (Bert Savard/CBC)

On Friday night, thousands of athletes from across Canada marched together in the opening ceremony of the Canada Summer Games, held this year in Winnipeg.

On Saturday morning, events begin that will test their skills on a national level.

Team Manitoba chef de mission Barry Moroz has said there's the potential in each and every sport for the province, and Manitoba has 330 athletes in the Games this year.

CBC News asked Moroz for his top picks for athletes to watch: 

Victoria Tachinski, 18, athletics

Manitoba's entire athletics team is expected to fare well in the Games, Moroz said.

One participant, Victoria Tachinski, is coming off a gold-medal win at the Pan American Under 20 Championships in Peru.

"Victoria Tachinski … is obviously a medal favourite," Moroz said.

Tachinski, 18, just got back from Peru last week, bringing home a silver in the 4x400-metre relay as well as the gold medal in the 800-metre race.

Winnipeg's Victoria Tachinski is outrunning the competition in Canada and the U.S., even when the field includes college and professional sprinters. (Victoria Tachinski/Instagram)

She's also sets national records for the 300-metre, 400-metre, 600-metre and 800-metre races for runners in her age group.

"I didn't want to go outside, I just wanted to sit inside and I wanted to watch track and field. My parents just thought it was crazy," she said. "I told them, I'm going to run for Canada. And they were like, 'OK,' like, 'If that's what you want, sweetie.' And now that it's actually happening, it's pretty crazy."

​On Aug. 9, Tachinski will head to Pennsylvania State University, where she'll compete on the school's Division 1 team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

But before that, she'll represent Manitoba in the 400- and 800-metre races and 4x400-metre relay in the Canada Summer Games.

"I feel like it's a good pressure. It's a pressure that really helps motivate you, and keeps you going," Tachinski said of competing in her hometown. "For me, it just makes me super excited to compete, just to have everyone come watch me and just to have all the cheerers in the crowd chanting my name."

Kyla Roy, 18, triathlon

Moroz also highlighted Kyla Roy, the 18-year-old triathlete who won gold at the Western Canada Summer Games in 2015 and has twice represented Canada in world events.

Roy also secured a third-place finish in the 2017 CAMTRI North American Junior Championships in Florida.

"Leading up to these Games I'm feeling super excited that it's here in Winnipeg and just ready to give it my all," Roy told CBC News.

Kyla Roy will represent Manitoba in the triathlon in this year's Canada Summer Games. (Wendy Buelow/CBC)

Roy will compete in the individual and relay events for triathlon in the Games.

Her last event is on Friday, Aug. 4. On Aug. 8, she'll head down to Arizona State University where she's received a rare triathlon scholarship.

"Triathlon scholarships are not very common right now. It's only the second year it's been in the NCAA, so it's pretty exciting," Roy said.

Arizona State is one of only two U.S. schools that hold Division 1 triathlon teams, and Roy is one of two Canadian students who earned a scholarship to the university.

She said she'll feel like she had a successful Games if she knows she gave 100 per cent.

"The competition will be really tough. Everyone's bringing three of their top girls, so you know it'll be fast and yeah, it'll be fun," she said.

Emma Gray, 19, rowing

Emma Gray's place on this list should come as no surprise: earlier this month, she was announced as the Team Manitoba flag-bearer for the Games.

What might be more surprising is that Gray has only been rowing for two years, after she found the sport through a testing program she took for a high school gym credit.

Moroz has said Gray has Olympic potential.

"She's a world-level athlete," he said.

In her first year in the sport, Gray won gold and bronze medals in rowing at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games.

Emma Gray is Manitoba's flag-bearer for the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg. (Aidan Geary/CBC)

Gray won national championships in the Junior Single and Under-23 Single categories, and secured the national record for the 2K and 6K races in the same categories.

She also represented Canada at the World Championships for her age group, and passed up an opportunity to do it for a second time in order to compete for Manitoba at the Games this year.

"It's a very humbling sport," Gray told CBC News earlier this month about rowing.

In the Games, she's entered in sculling events, rowing that uses two oars instead of one. She's competing in all four categories: single, double, quadruple and eight-person boats.

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