Cowichan Valley athletes are looking for success at the 2019 Pan American Games, which get underway in Lima, Peru on Friday.
The local group includes triathlete Desirae Ridenour, rugby player Patrick Kay, and swimmer Faith Knelson. This is the first Pan Am Games for all of then, but none are strangers to international competition.
Ridenour, a 2017 Cowichan Secondary School grad who calls Cowichan Bay home, will compete in both the women’s individual and mixed relay triathlon races. A former national junior champion, Ridenour won three gold medals at the 2017 Canada Summer Games and represented Canada at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, placing 17th in the women’s race and helping Canada to fourth in the mixed relay.
The Pan Am Games individual female triathlon event is scheduled for this Saturday, with the mixed relay set for Monday.
Kay, a 2011 Cowichan Secondary grad from Duncan, has been a member of the Canadian men’s rugby sevens team since 2013, helping the team to its first-ever World Series win at the 2017 Singapore Sevens and more recently helping Canada qualify for the 2020 Olympics by winning the Rugby Americas North Sevens tournament in the Cayman Islands in June. Kay also suited up for Canada at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The Canadian men’s sevens team opens the tournament against Uruguay on Friday, and plays Jamaica and Argentina on Saturday. Playoff games are scheduled for Sunday.
Knelson is from Ladysmith, and attended Queen of Angels School in Duncan until Grade 9. She won two gold medals in relay events at the 2017 World Junior Championships, and also competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, placing fourth in the 100m breaststroke and seventh in the 50m breaststroke.
Swimming at the Pan Am Games begins on Aug. 6.