Ontario’s Aboriginal athletes are disappointed after the 2011 North American Indigenous Games were cancelled.
“It’s a big disappointment – it’s very discouraging to our youth,” said Marc Laliberte, the Thunder Bay athlete who helped organize the last Aboriginal Team Ontario to go to the North American Indigenous Games in British Columbia in 2008.
“They are quite upset.”
The youth Laliberte has talked to since the cancellation of the 2011 NAIG, which were to be held July 10-17, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisc., are now asking what they can do instead of the NAIG.
NAIG has always been a great experience for the youth, Laliberte said.
“(They) were looking forward to having another great experience and meeting kids from all over the continent,” Laliberte said.
Laliberte said the Aboriginal team organizers across Canada have struck a committee to look into the possibility of holding an alternative event to NAIG 2011.
“We are going to go ahead and continue having programs in Ontario,” Laliberte said.
“We can have Ontario events in different sports.”
Laliberte said the cancellation sets Aboriginal Team Ontario back in terms of having a major event to prepare for.
“Now we have to look for alternatives,” Laliberte said.
He said a track and field event will be held in Thunder Bay in 2011 and a baseball skills development clinic for Aboriginal youth aged 11-17 will be held in late July.
“It is being held at the same time as the World Championships,” Laliberte said about the 2010 IBAF World Junior Baseball Championship being held July 23-Aug. 1 in Thunder Bay.
“We already have one national team planning to attend to help with the clinic, that is Chinese Taipei, and we are looking for other teams to attend to help our kids.”
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