Game faces: Meet Ontario Summer Games athletes – The London Free Press



Fans pack the stands at TD Stadium for the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Ontario Summer Games in London. (Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press)

Four days, 21 sports, 2,500 kids: The Ontario Summer Games are underway in London, showcasing the skills of teens from across the province. Shannon Coulter profiles some of the athletes and the big event that’s drawn them here.

WE ASKED: Your sport rocks because . . . ?

Name: Julia ColcucAge: 15Home: BurgessvilleSport: SoftballQuote: “It’s just a sport where you can play with lots of people and meet friends. It’s a fun sport.”

Name: Tristan KennedyAge: 15Home: DorchesterSport: BaseballQuote: “There are a lot of great things about it. It takes my mind off of other things.”

Name: Emma HemphillAge: 13Home: Niagara regionSport: BasketballQuote: “I like everything about basketball. It’s fun to play and I have a great team.”

Name: Abbey WrightAge: 12Home: LondonSport: BasketballQuote: “I like playing as a part of a team.”

Name: Nicole PoulakisAge: 14Home: AjaxSport: Field HockeyQuote: “I love scoring.”

Name: Devaang GuptaAge: 17Home: BramptonSport: ArcheryQuote: “It gives you a good feeling when you hit the middle. It’s satisfying.”

Name: Lindsay FletcherAge: 13Home: North BaySport: Athletics – TrackQuote: “It keeps you fit.”

Name: Ally PowerAge: 13Home: OshawaSport: LacrosseQuote: “I love the aggressiveness and you can make a lot of friendships.”

Name: Daniel LucianiAge: 16Home: SarniaSport: RugbyQuote: “Everyone gets touches and gets to play.”

Name: Carsten SinghAge: 13Home: MississaugaSport: Table tennisQuote: “It’s fun playing with friends in a club atmosphere and it’s an Olympic sport.

Name: Joel CandyAge: 16Home: StrathroySport: LacrosseQuote: “I like how it’s really fast and it’s an up-to-speed game. We can always come together as a team if we win or lose.”

Name: Katelyn FungAge: 14Home: LondonSport: DivingQuote: “I like to be able to feel free and fly.”

GAMES TUNE-UP

The big picture

Ontario’s largest sports event, the Games are held every two years for athletes ages 12 to 18, and feature both team and individual sports.

The venues

Every major sports site in London is being used, 25 in all, but only one new venue — a beach volleyball complex — had to be pulled together.

The spinoffs

The Games are expected to give London’s economy a $6-million boost, with a similar injection two years from now. That’s because London will be the host city again in 2020.

Free admission

All the competitions — you can find schedules and other details at london2018.ca — are free to attend.

Did you know?

The Ontario Summer Games date back to 1970 in Etobicoke, six years before Canada held its first Olympics. and have since become an important stepping stone to develop athletes for future international competition including the Pan American Games and the Olympics.

scoulter@postmedia.com