The Kitchener Waterloo International Children’s Games delegation would like to thank Kitchener Sports Association for their support!
On June 30, 14 young athletes, four coaches and I, Vanessa Rama, as HOD, said good bye to our families and got on the bus at the Briethaupt Centre in Kitchener and made our way to Pearson Airport where we boarded plane to Warsaw, Poland and then the connecting flight to Lithuania for the International Children’s Games 2017, held in Kaunas from July 4th to 9th.
When we arrived at the airport in Vilnius, Lithuania it was 1 p.m. on July 1. The bus ride from Vilnius to Kaunas was very quiet, as everyone was tired and sleepy. We stayed in a hotel in Kaunas and spent two days touring the area. The athletes picked the places they wanted to visit in Kaunas, which were Kaunas Castle, Old Town Kaunas, the War and Sports Museum, and Ninth Fort. These places were all historical, and we all learned lots.
The next day we toured Vilnius, which again, had a lot of history. We walked along the streets of Vilnius checking out the churches and city hall. We also visited a nice little authentic Lithuanian store which the athletes tried local foods.
When we arrived at the games, the athletes were all excited to get settled and started trading pins with the other athletes from different countries. We all looked sharp in our uniforms for opening ceremony, representing Kitchener, Canada. There were groups from about 90 cities from 35 different countries attending the ICG 2017.
Representing Kitchener were: Marina Ilyas, Patrick Ibrahim, and Michael Jaszczur for Table Tennis, along with their coach Attila Masonyi; Davna McLean, Dina Orucevic, Jillian Tulipano, and Lauren Kathen for Girls 3-on-3 Basketball, along with their coach Melissa Tulipano; Brett Moroz, Andrew Kuiper, Alexandra Minard, and Michelle Lin for Swimming, along with their coach Alexander Johnson; and Aaron Brush, Ethan Izzard and Goanaer Kang for Boys 3-on-3 Basketball, along with their coach Michael Quigley.
The athletes all played very well and showed true sportsmanship. Andrew Kuiper went into the swimming finals and came in fifth both times. They all had personal bests, and the teams got stronger playing together. It was an amazing experience for me, the athletes, and the coaches. It is wonderful to see how much the athletes have grown over the short time of 10 days. The International Children’s Games has truly lived up to their motto “Peace Through Sport,” bringing the athletes who range in age 12 to 15 from all over the world to compete, and new friendships were formed.
Submitted by Vanessa Rama