Hundreds attend 2019 Legion Nationals on Cape Breton Island
Hundreds of athletes, coaches, and volunteers gathered at Cape Breton University this weekend for the 2019 Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships.
The event showcases more than 700 elite athletes from across Canada. This is the first time since the 1980's that the competition has been held in Nova Scotia.
"This is my first legions, so it's really exciting!" said Daniella Kidston from Team Nova Scotia. "Everything is super nice and I'm really happy it's in Nova Scotia!"
This is the first time Cape Breton has hosted the championship, and only the second time it's been held in Nova Scotia.
Organizers hope other youth in the province will become more involved in the sport with it being held in our region.
"The reality is, the culture of track and field in our province is very different than other sports," said Jonathan Doucette, with Athletics Nova Scotia. "The awareness that it's a great sport and lots of opportunities within it is a big piece for me."
While many attendees are striving to be on the podium this week, others are setting goals for their future.
"I'd like to go somewhere someday, mostly for the 200. The Olympics? I hope!" said Team Nova Scotia athlete, Ali Poisson.
This weekend is not only to showcase a sport that isn't always well known in our region. The Royal Canadian Legion also gets a chance to share their community commitment.
"We are the last of the baby boomers, so we want to make sure the people in the country, especially the young people, carry on the legacy of looking after veterans and their families," said committee, chair Tom Young.
This championship is one of several national events held in Cape Breton in the last couple of months.
The Scotties Tournament of Hearts was held in Sydney in February and Sydney Mines, N.S. also hosted the Canadian Senior Little League Championships in July.
Organizers for this event have received news that the championship will be returning to the island next year.
"I think the word is getting out to the rest of the country, that if you want to have national events, Cape Breton Island is a great place to have it," said Young.
The competition will wrap up on Sunday with the event expected to generate $2,000,000 for the local economy.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore