A group of top tier speed skating athletes will be training in Fort St. John.
 
From July 20-27, Fort St. John’s Pomeroy Sport Centre will be training headquarters for 35 long track skaters and 20 short track skaters, along with seven coaches from the Calgary Olympic Oval Program.
 
The skaters will be practicing at the Sport Centre while the Calgary Olympic Oval undergoes roof repairs until Aug. 1, 2011. As a result, the skaters and coaches of the Oval Program will migrate to Fort St. John for the week-long training camp.
 
The Oval Program is Calgary’s highest level training program, with training groups consisting of provincial, national and international athletes. Participants heading to Fort St. John consist of skaters who hope to become a part of, or currently are on, the National Development Team. Some have even skated or medaled in the World Junior Championships.
 
Liam Mcfarlane is one of the National Team level short track skaters who is also a past 500 metre world record holder. The Oval Program is also bringing up to five skaters from the Chinese National Team, including Beixing Wang, who won a bronze medal in the Ladies 500 m event at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
 
Fort St, John Mayor Bruce Lantz, says “to have this many national and international competitors and coaches training in our community is an unprecedented way to showcase the amazing sport facilities we have to offer. We are very excited and proud to have been called upon to host Canada’s elite skaters.”
 
The Oval Program skater’s visit will coincide with the City’s next scheduled Music Capital of Northern B.C. Celebration, set to take place in Centennial Park on July 23 from 6-9 p.m. The entire community is invited and encouraged to attend the event to help welcome the athletes, as well as experience local performers.