Catriona Le May Doan Encourages Canadians to Vote for Finalists in the ING Speed Skating Challenge

    - Canada's Best Speed Skating Story will come from Nunavut or Alberta -

    CALGARY, March 10 /CNW/ - Over the past four weeks, over 35,000 Canadians
have voted online to determine the finalists in the first annual ING Speed
Skating Challenge.
    The title of Canada's Best Speed Skating Story will be awarded to either
Sarah Ali representing the Iqaluit Speed Skating Association in Nunavut or
Alastair Starke representing the Lloydminster Border Blades Speed Skating Club
in Alberta.
    As part of ING's commitment to the growth of speed skating in communities
across Canada, the finalists will also take home cash donations of $5,000 or
$2,500 for their clubs.
    Catriona Le May Doan has been impressed by the quality of the video
stories and understands why both Sarah and Alastair have come this far.
    "Sarah and Alastair are both great storytellers. They show that young
skaters in Canada have something to say about their sport. I'm really
impressed by how different both stories are but they share one thing - a
genuine passion for speed skating," said Catriona. "I'd like to encourage all
Canadians to get online, watch these stories, and vote."
    For 16-year-old finalist Sarah Ali, getting to the final is a dream come
true. "I honestly never thought my video from up north would make it to the
final of this nationwide competition. I am hoping that from this competition
Iqaluit Speed Skating Association and other small clubs will be encouraged,"
said Sarah.
    Alastair Starke generated support for his story with a grassroots
campaign in his hometown. "Lloydminster may not be the biggest community, but
it always supports its own. I was interviewed by three local radio stations,
both of our local newspapers and the story received wide coverage on our local
television station. Our club has really worked together to spread the word
about the video," added Alastair.
    Voting in the final round continues online at and closes Friday, March 14, 12 Midnight MST.
    Both finalists will be flown to Calgary for the ING Video Awards Party
hosted by Catriona Le May Doan and the winner will be crowned on
Saturday, March 15, 2008.

    Sarah Ali
        -  Club: Iqaluit Speed Skating Association, Nunavut
        -  Story title: Nunavut Pride
        -  16-year-old Sarah Ali has been speed skating for six years in her
           hometown of Iqaluit. She counts representing Nunavut at
           competitions as her skating highpoint, but also really wants to be
           a positive role model for younger skaters at her club.

    Alastair Starke
        -  Club: Lloydminster Border Blades Speed Skating Club, Alberta
        -  Story title: Durness Oval Story
        -  Alastair Starke's story sounds like a something right out of a
           Hollywood script. When the 17-year-old needed a place to train for
           the Alberta Games, he built an oval on a frozen slough on his
           family's farm just outside of Lloydminster, Alberta.

        Please note: Stories are available in original format for editorial
        use upon request.

    ING and Speed Skating Canada partners have provided over $25,000 in prizes
for clubs and young skaters.

    Grand Prize: Canada's Best Speed Skating Story

        -  Trip for three to the ING Video Awards Party in Calgary
        -  $5,000 donation from ING to the winner's club
        -  $1,500 gift certificate for new speed skates
        -  Timex Triathlon digital heart rate monitor
        -  Premium Hbc gift certificates
        -  iPod Touch
        -  Canon digital camera

    Second Prize: Runner-up

        -  Trip for three to the ING Video Awards Party in Calgary
        -  $2,500 donation from ING to the runner-up's club
        -  Timex Triathlon digital heart rate monitor
        -  Premium Hbc gift certificates
        -  iPod Touch
        -  Canon digital camera

    Additional prizes are awarded to the Top 16, 8 and 4 respectively.

        -  Challenge opened: November 14, 2007
        -  Challenge closed: February 3, 2008 (Video Entry Deadline)
        -  Voting began: February 11, 2008
        -  Voting closes: March 14, 2008 (12 Midnight MST)
        -  Canada's Best Speed Skating Story is crowned: March 15, 2008

    In 2006, ING Canada announced our Premier Partnership with Speed Skating
Canada, which involves a commitment to the sport for over the next six years.
With this support, we hope both to help elite athletes achieve their gold
medal dreams, and to further grow this sport in communities across the
    For ING, this partnership represents a great fit as it ties into our
roots in The Netherlands, where speed skating originated, and it complements
other existing ING sponsorships in Canada, most notably the Calgary Olympic
    "ING in Canada is dedicated to high performance - for our customers,
brokers, and employees," said Derek Iles, President of ING Insurance Company
of Canada. "By partnering with Speed Skating Canada, we hope to work together
to highlight and build on the performances and achievements of Canada's speed
skating champions and to bring the sport of speed skating to communities
across the country, where our customers and brokers work and live."
    We're proud of our involvement in both ING On The Edge, a program that
works with Speed Skating Canada to bring speed skating into elementary schools
and provide young people with skating instruction, and the ING Speed Skating
Challenge - the search for Canada's best speed skating story.
    As a national organization that operates in many communities across
Canada, we are always looking for a way to give back to those communities and
make a difference.

    ING Insurance is the largest auto, property and liability insurer in
Canada with a network of more than 2,800 independent insurance brokerages. It
is part of ING Canada (TSX: IIC), which provides insurance products to
individuals and businesses through ING Insurance and other subsidiaries.

For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS: Russell Reimer, Partner, Agenda
Sport Marketing, (403) 585-8242,; Maria MacAulay,
Communications Manager, ING Insurance Company of Canada, (403) 697-6833,

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