CANOE: Zone 5 paddler shows games spirit

Ydris Hunter wins four golds and a silver in his canoe races

Kenji MacMartin (left) and Ydris Hunter.

Ydris Hunter happily shared the wealth from the bounty of medals he collected at this weekend’s BC Summer Games, hosted by Abbotsford.

A 14-year-old paddler from East Vancouver, Hunter had a memorable games along Fort Langley’s Bedford Channel – and on dry land, as well.

Hunter won four golds and a silver in his canoe races.

He took gold in the Boys C-1 500m Train to Train, Boys C-1 2000m Open, Boys C-2 500m Train to Train, and Boys/Girls C-4 500m Open, to go along with a silver in the Boys/Girls OC6 2000m Open.

“It feels good to win, of course,” Ydris said. “It’s fun. I like competing. We get to hang out with our friends, we see them at all the regattas, all the races, it’s great.”

Meanwhile, his Zone 5 (Vancouver-Coastal) teammate, 12-year-old Kenji MacMartin, from Tsawwassen, was empty handed in his first ever BC Games experience.

That’s why Hunter handed him one of his gold medals – to keep.

It was a significant gesture, one that symbolizes the spirit of the games.

“Kenji paddles with us at False Creek. He’s part of the younger kids group,” Hunter said. “We have a level system, to divide skills, age groups, and everything. So he came here, to the BC Games and he was one of the only ones of his age to come here and compete.”

That meant MacMartin was up against paddlers three and four years his senior.

“I thought that’s kind of unfair in that way,” Hunter said. “He needed something to lift up his day. He was up against some pretty older guys so I said, ‘Why should I have all these medals? He’s earned it, he’s made it here, he’s put forth a great effort, and he’s competing. All the odds were against him and he’s still here. I thought he deserved it.”

MacMartin said receiving the gold medal from his teammate was “kind of surprising.”

Troy Landreville

Black Press

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