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Sports legends inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

© Copyright - 2017 - Victoria Sports News

Running legend Maurice Tarrant. Photo credit: Louise Hodgson Jones

 

It was a glittering evening when Victoria honoured the very best in sports at the 24th Annual Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Westin Bear Mountain.

Maurice Tarrant – one of nine to be inducted – was quite overwhelmed with all of the attention. But the prolific runner was surrounded by children and grandchildren as he recalled that his running began at 21 during his days in the RAF in his native England. “I am fortunate to have competed for 70 years,” he said. A career that has included 65 Canadian age class records, 10 world single age records and over 200 Island Series races. He states “staying active is important” and boast the walls in his garage is his own wall of fame. Quoting Churchill he summed up his remarkable career: “Race is not only for the swift. Success is not final – it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Also inducted in the running category was Diane Cummins, 800 metre specialist and Pan Am gold medallist (2007) and Commonwealth Games silver medallist (2002) and bronze medallist (2010). “I had always dreamed of going to the Olympics,” she said. After moving to Canada in 1994 from South Africa it took her just 10 years to do that. But it is on Canadian soil that she has her most outstanding results, winning gold at 10 Canadian National Track Championships – “in 1998 nobody expected me to win,” she quipped.

Other inductees were Rafael Melendez-Duke, one of Victoria’s greatest sprinters of all time, and honoured as a coach and builder – “I am more of a brick than a builder,” he said. He has mentored the cross country program at Willow School for over 25 years.

Karen March, the high skilled multi-sport Paralympian, competed in Athens in 2004 in the 200m and 400m T52 events. She then switched to Paracycling winning the World Cup title in the H1 class in 2011. A car accident in 1988 relegated her to a wheelchair but her attitude has always been positive. “I didn’t know about parasports before, it all happened organically and very day is a journey. Sport has taught me to give my all,” she said.

Rounding out the inductees were Alex Nelson, founder of the National Aboriginal Sports Circle; Michael O’Connor, former rugby player and Director of Rugby Canada; Wanda Allan Parsons, World Champion and Olympian in archery; the 1966-67 Victoria O’Keefes soccer team, the last winners of the Kennedy Cup, and Denny Boyd who posthumously was honoured with the Sid Thomas Sports Media Award for outstanding services to media.

Awards and archive photos were on display at the ceremony. Photo credit: Louise Hodgson Jones

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