McGuinty government honours Ontario Sport Award nominees

    Ontario Sport Awards Highlight Top Athletes Of 2006

    TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is honouring the
outstanding performances of Ontario Sport Award nominees who motivate and
inspire Ontarians to be more physically active and involved in sport, Minister
of Health Promotion Jim Watson said today.
    "Last year was a tremendous year on all levels as Ontario athletes were
successful in so many ways," said Watson. "I'd like to extend my
congratulations and my thanks to each of our amateur athletes, coaches and
supporters who make a unique contribution to improving the quality of life in
our province and inspire Ontarians of all ages and abilities to lead healthy
and active lives."
    Watson will present awards to winners such as coaches of the year, four
Athletes of the Year and others at the Ontario Sport Awards tonight in
Toronto. The Ministry of Health Promotion is committed to supporting Ontario's
amateur athletes and helping them achieve excellence. Through the Ontario
Sport Awards, the province pays tribute to athletes and those who support
    Recipients of athletic awards this evening will include:
    -  Lois Thompson - Rolph Lund Jule Nisse Award
       (A lifetime achievement recognizing her contribution to Ontario soft
    -  Tessa Virue and Scott Moir - Team of the Year
       The pair has been skating together since 1997 and has been very
       successful. During the past five years, the pair has earned the title
       of Juvenile Ice Dance Champions of Canada, Pre-Novice Champions of
       Canada, Bronze Medallists in the Novice category, Junior Champions of
       Canada and Bronze Medallists in the Senior category.
    -  Dimitritchka Masleva - Female Coach of the Year
       Ms. Masleva is a Rhythmic Gymnastics Level Three Coach who holds the
       highest level of judging certifications available in Canada for her
    -  Lee Barkell - Male Coach of the Year
       Mr. Barkell is a professional skating coach who has attained a Level
       Four certified coach designation in the NCCP and has been a
       professional coach for 43 years.

    Awards for Female and Male Athletes of the Year, as well as Female and
Male Athletes of the Year with a Disability will be announced at tonight's
event. Nominees in these categories include Vicky Sunohara and Bradley Bowden.
Vicky Sunohara played woman's hockey and won the gold medal for woman's Team
Canada at the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic Games. She also played for Four
Nations Team Canada and Team Ontario National Championship teams who both were
awarded gold. Bradley Bowden achieved success in both wheelchair basketball
and sledge hockey. He was a major contributor at the 2006 Torino Paralympic's
demonstrating strong leadership on Canada's Sledge Hockey Team; and also as
part of Canada's Gold Medal Wheelchair Basketball Team.
    Syl Apps Awards will be presented to volunteers who have dedicated
countless hours and contributed to the development of sport in the province.
Corporate Sport Citation Awards will recognize corporations that have been
leaders in supporting sport through sustained corporate involvement over
several years.
    "Tessa and I are thrilled to receive this award of excellence and I'd
like to thank Minister Watson and the Government of Ontario for recognizing
the hard work it takes to be an athlete," said Scott Moir, Team of the Year.
    The Ontario Sport Awards were introduced 40 years ago to acknowledge top
athletes and sport supporters. The evening is organized by the Sport Alliance
of Ontario, on behalf of the Ministry of Health Promotion.

    The Ministry of Health Promotion was established in June 2005 to improve
and deliver programs that contribute to healthy living and wellness in this
province. Key priorities include Ontario's smoke-free strategy, healthy
eating, active living, sport and recreation, injury prevention and mental
health promotion.

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Adam Grachnick, Minister's Office, (416)
326-8497; Julie Rosenberg, Communications Branch, (416) 326-4833

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