Sport Calgary awards handed out to karate club, charity organization

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Sport Calgary recognized two organizations for making a positive impact on the local sports community by presenting prestigious awards at the 2022 Celebration of Sport Gala.

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The South Calgary Wado Kai Karate Club was honored with the Perry Cavanagh Award for Athletic Leadership, while Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities was honored with the Ron Southern Business and Sport Award celebrating a business that supports sports in the Stampede City.

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“We have all been challenged during the pandemic, but the commitment of the South Calgary Wado Kai Karate Club and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities to ensuring the health and well-being of our community has not wavered and will continue to help us rebuild stronger,” said Catriona Le May Doan, general manager of Sport Calgary. “It is the work of organizations like these that plays a critical role in supporting Sport Calgary’s mission of ensuring that sport and play in the city is an inclusive and welcoming place for all physical and cognitive abilities while addressing financial barriers be phased out to increase participation in an effort to restore Calgary to the healthiest and most active community in Canada.”

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The Perry Cavanagh Sports Leadership Award recognizes the outstanding contribution of a sports club or organization that has made a significant positive contribution to the betterment of sports in Calgary.

The South Calgary Wado Kai Karate Club was founded in 1994 and has trained more than 3,000 youth, teens and adults in South Calgary. With 25 active black belts who are also dedicated volunteers, the club hosts two tournaments per year and will host the 25th Annual Spring Clinics and Tournament in 2023, which will feature athletes and officials from across Canada.

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With passionate and respectful people at the heart of the club, members are ambassadors for the Calgary community, host regular Stampede breakfasts, attend demonstrations at malls, the Calgary Zoo, private company luncheons and the Calgary Flames Foundation, among others.

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It’s also a club that prides itself on being a safe, inclusive place for everyone, regardless of ability or background. The club’s inclusion of people with disabilities has produced a role model, movie star and international medalist in Natalie Olson, a club member with Down Syndrome.

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Olson started with the club when she was eight years old. The 34-year-old is a two-time Pan American Champion and four-time World Karate Championships medalist. Last year, Olson and her trainer Heather Fidyk — a seventh-degree black belt mother and grandmother — starred in the award-winning documentary sensei, which was filmed in Calgary. Olson has become a role model in the community and has played an important role in creating a safe and welcoming environment for other Calgarians with a disability.

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South Calgary Wado Kai Karate Club joins a long list of previous winners including Calgary Booster Club; Canadian Sports Institute Calgary; KidSport Society of Calgary; Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association; Girls Hockey Calgary; Greater Calgary and Area Football Association; Special Olympics Calgary; WinSport Canada; Calgary Track Council; Dino Women’s Volleyball Club and YMCA.

The Ron Southern Business and Sport Award recognizes a company that supports sports in Calgary in innovative ways.

Founded in 2005, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities enriches the lives of children in need through sport and physical activity and helps families break down financial and accessibility barriers to sport and recreation to enable inclusive play for children of all abilities.

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Jumpstart has created connectivity in Calgary’s sports, exercise and recreation ecosystem to improve and create meaningful adaptive and accessible ways to participate by using evidence-based best practices and backed by research. Since its inception in 2020, more than 350 children and youth have participated in 16 programs for children and youth with disabilities. More than 75 families with disabilities have been connected to programs through personalized program navigation services, and more than 500 athletic and recreational leaders have participated in a monthly seminar series on research and community engagement that supports evidence-based knowledge translation.

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Jumpstart joins a list of previous winners including ARC Resources; Cardel Houses; encana; Tim Hortons; Intact insurance ING; TimberTown Construction Center Ltd.; Tuxedo Source for Sports; Shane Houses; Talisman Energy Inc. and Canadian Tire Corporation (Forzani Group Limited).

The awards were presented at the return of Sport Calgary’s Celebration of Sport gala after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic. All proceeds from the event benefit amateur sports in the city and programs that encourage physical activity.

Sport Calgary is a voluntary, not-for-profit corporation that represents more than 300 Calgary organizations as civic partners. As champions of sports, we strive to support, support and influence the growth of sports in Calgary.

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