Red Deer’s Jeremiah Lauzon was one of the recipients of the Red Deer Games Foundation award last summer. (File photo)

Support for athletes suspended until fall

Support for athletes suspended until fall

With the sports calendar slimming down significantly this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Red Deer Games Foundation has decided to delay funding for athletes.

Typically, the foundation allows athletes to apply in two periods, in May and in November. Last year, they handed out money to almost 17 athletes, ranging from $300 to $1,000.

This year, the May application period will be cancelled, with athletes encouraged to apply again in November.

It is not because of a lack of funding, according to executive director Miles Kydd, but rather, with very few competitions, it makes more sense to give the athletes money when they have more expenses.

“There’s money available, but basically, the decision was made because there’s a pretty strong indication that any competitions that would be typically happening in the summer, none of those are happening,” Kydd said.

“By just holding off until November-December, there will be more money available, and hopefully, things will be back to normal and kids will be back training and be back to regular expenses.”

The fund was started with a donation from the 1975 Alberta Summer Games and continues through legacy funds from the 1988 Alberta Winter Games and the 2006 Alberta Summer Games. It provides support to athletes with a high-level of ability and strong devotion to their sport.

Top athletes who have received the grant in the past include former Olympic speed skater Jeremy Wotherspoon, freestyle skier Deidra Dionne and curler Jocelyn Peterman.

Jeremiah Lauzon, who won a national medal in track and field last year, was also a recipient.

One concern is that an athlete who misses out on funding this time around, regardless of competition schedule, won’t be able to keep moving forward. Kydd said he hopes that isn’t the case.

“I think the committee realizes there is a risk that maybe somebody is going to fall through the cracks. It seems like most high-level, elite sport was shut down this summer anyway. Any training or competition would be virtual or local,” he said.

For more information on the fund, or how to apply, head to www.asdccentral.ca/rdgf.

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