Ontario Government Congratulates 2006 Athletes of the Year

    New Sport Funding Will Help More Athletes Achieve Excellence In Sports

    TORONTO, April 27 /CNW/ - Minister of Health Promotion Jim Watson
presented awards to Ontario athletes at the 2006 Ontario Sport Awards last
    "The McGuinty government is pleased to recognize and support the hard
work and outstanding talents of our athletes," said Watson. "The Ontario Sport
Awards are an opportunity to pay tribute to the dedication and hard work of
Ontario's amateur athletes and all the coaches, volunteers and corporate
sponsors who support them."

    The awards for best Male and Female Athletes as well as Male and Female
Athletes with a Disability are among the highest honour an athlete can receive
at the provincial level. Recipients who received awards include:

    -   Vicky Sunohara - Female Athlete of the Year
    -   Jeffrey Buttle - Male Athlete of the Year
    -   Bradley Bowden - Male Athlete With A Disability of the Year
    -   Karen Blachford - Female Athlete With A Disability of the Year
    -   Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir - Team of the Year

    The Ontario government applauds Ontario's athletes in their quest for
excellence in sport and values the role these athletes play as advocates for
sport, physical activity and as role models for children and youth. Increasing
support to high-performance athletes is one component of the McGuinty
government's ACTIVE2010 - Ontario's Strategy for Sport and Physical Activity.
    "Winning an award of recognition from the province is a great way to top
off a fantastic year," said Vicky Sunohara, Female Athlete of the Year. "I'm
pleased to have the opportunity to celebrate with my fellow athletes and
Minister Watson."
    The Minister also made funding announcements including $6.3 million in
Provincial Sport Organization funding. This program focuses on encouraging
more Ontarians to be involved in sports, enhancing competition opportunities
for athletes and increasing the pool of trained coaches.
    The Minister also announced $528,000 to the Sport Alliance of Ontario to
increase grants to communities hosting the Ontario Summer and Winter Games and
the Summer Paralympic Championships. Funds will also be used to establish a
new Canada Games Team Development Program to prepare athletes for the Canada
Games and other national competitions.
    The Ontario Sport Awards were introduced 40 years ago to acknowledge top
athletes and sport supporters. The evening was organized by the Sport Alliance
of Ontario, in partnership with 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 Grachnik, Minister's Office, (416)
326-8497; Julie Rosenberg, Communications Branch, (416) 326-4833

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