Meet New Brunswick's 6 Pan Am Games athletes
Wrestling, sailing, steeplechase, boxing, mountain bike racing and karate will all feature N.B. athletes
New Brunswick has ties to six athletes who are competing at this month's Pan Am Games that are being hosted in Toronto.
There is a mix of rising stars, such as karate's Kate Campbell, to experienced international competitors, such as Catharine Pendrel, a mountain bike racer from Harvey Station.
Here are the six athletes to watch, including their events, competition dates and other interesting facts about their training and thoughts on the Pan Am Games.
- Hometown: Fredericton
- Event: Karate
- Competition date: July 23
Kate Campbell's years of hard work in a karate dojo is about to pay off this month at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.
Not only is she competing at one of the biggest events in her sport, she is also doing it on Canadian soil, which she says gives her extra energy.
"I think that the hype and the media and the excitement and the energy around the games is just something that can't really be compared to anything else in my sport," she said.
The 24-year-old has 10 national titles under her belt.
- Hometown: Harvey Station
- Event: Mountain bike racing
- Competition date: July 12
- Result: Silver medal
Catharine Pendrel was born in Fredericton and raised in Harvey Station. This year's Pan Am Games will not be the first major event for the mountain bike racer.
She has competed in mountain biking in two Olympics Games. She also won a Pan Am gold medal in the 2007 games in Rio.
Each course is different and brings its own challenges, which is part of the reason she said she enjoys mountain bike racing.
"There's so much variety. It challenges you in so many ways and it's always about figuring out how to get the best out of yourself on the day on the course and against the field of competition," said Pendrel.
- Hometown: Moncton
- Event: Boxing
- Competition date: July 20
Mandy Bujold is stepping into the ring at the Pan Am Games, fighting for a chance to win her second gold medal in the women's 48-51 kilogram division.
Bujold first started boxing when she lived in Moncton, N.B. She lived there from the ages of six to 16 and that's when her passion for the sport began.
Her training was ratcheted up when she moved to Kitchener, Ont.
When she competed in Guadalajara, Mexico, four years ago, it was the first time female boxers had competed in that event.
Now that the games are located in Canada, she's approaching the competition a bit differently.
"I'm just looking at taking it all in and really enjoying it as I go for gold again," Bujold said.
- Birthplace: Saint John
- Event: Sailing
- Competition date: July 12 to 19
- Result: Fifth
Jamie Allan was born in New Brunswick and even though he moved away when he was young, his love of sailing started in a yacht club in Saint John.
Now Allan, a high school teacher, is hoping to make waves at the Pan Am Games. Allan is competing in the Lightning class sailing race, where he will be the skipper of the three-person boat.
Allan said he isn't nervous about the event, but is ready to get his boat into the water and start racing.
"I don't think we've ever had a week of build up before something," said Allan.
"We're just anxious to get started."
HIs team includes Chantal Leger and Jay Deakin.
- Hometown: Moncton
- Event: 3,000-metre steeplechase
- Competition date: July 24
Geneviève Lalonde had the good fortune to compete at the IAAF world junior track championships when they were held in Moncton in 2010. Five years later, she is going to compete at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.
"But this year being in Toronto, it's been really big," she said.
"So it's pretty exciting especially since now a lot of people know what you're doing and get to be a part of these big championships."
The steeplechase competition is not always a marquee event at track competitions.
Moncton's Lalonde said she is routinely describing her event to people.
"Often times people are like, 'Oh what is that?' And you're like, It's kind of like human horse racing. You run and you jump over things and there's a water pit," said Lalonde.
Lalonde is hoping the steeplechase event at the Pam Ams will be a stepping stone to the Olympics in Rio.
If she comes in the top three at the qualifying championships, she will be have to start getting ready for Rio.
- Hometown: Fredericton
- Event: 130-kg Greco-Roman wrestling
- Competition date: July 16
- Results: Lost in bronze medal match
Charles Thoms, a Greco-Roman wrestler, has no shortage of confidence when asked if he is ready for the Pan Am Games.
"We're going to bring home a medal. We're going to hammer them," said Thoms.
Thoms will be wrestling in the 130-kilogram Greco-Roman category at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.
The Pan Am Games will not be the first time that Thoms has competed internationally.
In 2013, he wrestled in the Francophone Games in Nice, France, where he won a bronze medal.
The 26-year-old wrestler said he is not nervous about the looming competition.
"Never. I'm just going to leave it all out there on the mat," Thoms said.