Sunday, January 29, 2023

Sport Calgary awards handed out to karate club, charity organization


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Sport Calgary has recognized two organizations for making a positive impact on the local sporting community by handing out prestigious awards at the 2022 Celebration of Sport gala.

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South Calgary Wado Kai Karate Club was saluted with the Perry Cavanagh Award for sport leadership, while Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities was presented with the Ron Southern Business and Sport Award that celebrates a corporation that supports sport in the Stampede City.

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“We have all been challenged during the pandemic, but the commitment of the South Calgary Wado Kai Karate Club and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities to ensuring the health and wellness of our community did not waver and will continue to help us build back stronger,” said Catriona Le May Doan, Sport Calgary’s chief executive officer. “It is the work of organizations like these that play a critical role in supporting Sport Calgary’s mission to ensure sport and play in the city is an inclusive and welcoming place for all physical and cognitive abilities while also reducing financial barriers to increase participation in an effort to once again make Calgary the healthiest and most active communities in Canada.”

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The Perry Cavanagh Sport Leadership Award recognizes the outstanding contribution of a sport club or organization that has made a significant positive contribution to the betterment of sport in Calgary.

Established in 1994, the South Calgary Wado Kai Karate Club has trained more than 3,000 youth, teens and adults in south Calgary. Boasting 25 active black belts, who are also dedicated volunteers, the club hosts two tournaments a year and, in 2023, will host the 25th annual spring clinics and tournament, which brings in athletes and officials from across Canada.

With passionate and respectful people at the heart of the club, members are ambassadors for the Calgary community, regularly hosting Stampede breakfasts, participating in demonstrations at  malls, the Calgary Zoo, private company luncheons and the Calgary Flames Foundation, among other events.

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It is also a club that prides itself on being a safe, inclusive place for all regardless of ability or background. The club’s inclusion of persons with a disability has created a role model, a film star and an international medallist in Natalie Olson, who is a club member with Down syndrome.

Olson started with the club when she was eight years old. Now 34, she is a two-time Pan-American champion and four-time world championship medallist in karate. Last year, Olson and her coach Heather Fidyk — a seventh-degree black belt, mother and grandmother — were featured in the award-winning documentary Sensei, which was filmed in Calgary. Olson has developed into a community role model and has played an important role in creating a safe and welcoming environment for other Calgarians with a disability.

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South Calgary Wado Kai Karate Club joins a long list of past winners including the Calgary Booster Club; Canadian Sport Institute Calgary; KidSport Society of Calgary; Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association; Girls Hockey Calgary; Greater Calgary and Area Football Association; Special Olympics Calgary; WinSport Canada; Calgary Track Council; Dino Women’s Volleyball Club and  YMCA.

The Ron Southern Business and Sport Award recognizes a corporation that provides innovative support to sport in Calgary.

Founded in 2005, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities enriches the lives of kids in need through sport and physical activity while helping families break down financial and accessibility barriers to sport and recreation in an effort to provide inclusive play for kids of all abilities.

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Jumpstart has created a connectivity in Calgary’s sport, physical activity and recreation eco-system to enhance and create meaningful adapted and disability-inclusive pathways for participation, using evidence-informed best practised and backed by research. Since its inception in 2020, more than 350 children and youth have participated in 16 programs designed for children and youth with disabilities. More than 75 families experiencing disability have been connect to programs through personalized program navigation services, and more than 500 sport and recreation leaders have attended a monthly Research & Community Engagement seminar series, supporting evidence-informed knowledge translation.

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Jumpstart joins a list of past winners including ARC Resources; Cardel Homes; Encana; Tim Hortons; Intact Insurance ING; TimberTown Building Centre Ltd.; Tuxedo Source for Sport; Shane Homes; Talisman Energy Inc. and Canadian Tire Corporation (Forzani Group Limited).

The awards were handed out at the return of Sport Calgary’s Celebration of Sport gala following a two-year hiatus during the pandemic. All of the proceeds from the event go to support amateur sport in the city and programs that encourage sport participation.

Sport Calgary is a volunteer, non-profit society, representing more than 300 organizations in Calgary as a civic partner. As an advocate of sport, we strive to assist, support and influence the growth of sport in Calgary.

Check out our sports section for the latest news and analysis. Care for a wager? Head to our sports betting section for news and odds.

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