Alex Brent of Mission was surprised when he first heard he was selected as flag bearer for the Team BC squad heading to Wood Buffalo, Alta. to compete at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games.
Brent will be leading the roughly 400-strong — athletes and coaches — B.C. contingent when the Games kicks off with the opening ceremonies this evening (Aug. 7).
“I thought they were messing with me,” said the 18-year-old kayaker, who added his immediate fear was that he had to give a speech.
“I’ll wing it if I have to,” he said, laughing.
Brent has been a competitive kayaker for about 13 years and will take to the water at the Games, competing in the 1,000-meter, 500m and 200m men’s kayak events, in which he expects to medal in.
This year, Brent finished second in the K-1 1,000m and sixth in the K-1 500m at the Canadian National Team Trials in Montreal.
He also just returned from Portugal where he competed at the ICF Canoe Sprint Junior & U23 World Championships. His best result came in the junior men’s K-2 1,000m where he and Scott Braddon of Ottawa advanced to the finals, and finished the event eighth overall.
Brent is also an alumnus of the 2013 Canada Summer Games and 2012 BC Summer Games.
The St. John Brebeuf graduate is a member of the Ridge Canoe and Kayak Club based out of Maple Ridge where he trains on a consistent basis at Whonnock Lake.
A routine day of practice includes a 14-kilometre paddle, some long distance running and then perhaps weight training or a return to the water.
Brent will attend the University of the Fraser Valley this fall to study sports nutrition.
British Columbia has taken part in the Western Canada Summer Games since 1975 when the Games were first held in Regina. Team BC finished first at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops with a record 255 medals.
This year’s Games will run until Aug. 16 and will consist of over 2,500 athletes from Canada’s four western provinces and three northern territories, competing across 18 sporting events.