Local cadet takes podium at national championship
“I like that biathlon pushes me to do my best at two different things: skiing and shooting,” said Leblanc who has been training for this day for the past two years. “And my personal goal for this year’s Championship is to win a medal in one of the races.”
It would appear that those two years are starting to pay off.
The championships were held at CFB Val Cartier, Que., from March 2-9, and Leblanc was one of three local cadets to compete in Valcartier as members of Team Ontario.
Leblanc, along with Master Cpl. James Bennet-Ainsworth and Warrant Officer Scott Sampson — all from 2964 Walden Irish Army Cadet corps — formed Ontario’s Unit Male team that competed in both the team relay race and the cadet patrol race.
“Qualifying for this championship is no easy feat, and aiming for gold begins one stride at a time,” said the Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay. “I wish the best of luck to the cadets and instructors at this year’s national championship.”
Meanwhile, Val Caron cadet Brittanie Cardinal, 15, had the proud distinction of carrying Ontairo’s flag into the opening ceremonies of the 2013 National Cadet Biathlon Championship at CFB Valcartier, Que.
“Sgt. Cardinal was chosen from among the 18 cadets here because of her flag-drill expertise and her overall pep and enthusiasm,” said Capt. Angele Caporicci, one of the Team Ontario coaches, in a news release.
“We needed an expert to represent our province, and Brittanie’s experience as a Flag Party Commander ensured that Ontario’s flag would be well taken care of in her hands.”
This year represents Brittanie’s first time competing at the national level for biathlon, but is something that she has been training toward for the past four years.
“I love to ski and to shoot, but I also like the teamwork aspect of biathlon,” said Cardinal. “And my goal for this championship is to do the best that I can for Ontario.”
And obviously, that goal extended well beyond the athletics. Cardinal was more than happy to be chosen to be the one to carry Ontario’s flag during the opening ceremony.
“It’s an honour to represent my province, no matter what the activity,” she said. “I am so proud of all the hard work that Ontario has done for us, and appreciate this opportunity to show my thanks.”
The 26th annual National Cadet Biathlon Championship got underway on March 3, with 138 cadet biathletes and 60 cadet officials from every province and territory in Canada.
The aims of the Cadet Biathlon Program are to promote physical fitness, to act as a catalyst for a cadet fitness/sports program, to promote the safe handing of rifles, and to stimulate and maintain an interest in the Cadet Program.
Races for the 2013 National Championship include the mass start, pursuit race, relay race, and the patrol race.
To find out more about the National Cadet Biathlon Championship, visit www.cadets.ca/biathlon/championship-championnat.