|Figure skaters Julianne Delaurier, far right, and Rosalyn Carr stand with members of the Kelowna bantam boys' hockey team outside Prospera Place on Wednesday afternoon. The hockey team and the figure skaters are off to Ufa, Russia, to join 800 athletes from 60 cities from around the world who are participating in the sixth International Children's Winter Games. The event runs Feb. 26 to March 3.|
The real departure date for the boys' hockey team and two female figure skaters is Feb. 21. About 800 athletes from 60 countries are expected to compete in the sixth International Children's Winter Games Feb. 26 to March 3.
Team Kelowna will consist of 20 athletes and five coaches, including 18 youth on the Kelowna bantam boys' team often referred to as the Kelowna Rockets. The figure skating team includes Julianne Delaurier, who recently won a bronze medal in the novice A ladies division at the national competition.
The boys' hockey team will play teams from Russia, Mongolia, Latvia, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia and Belarus.
With a total of 47 on the flight, it is the second largest delegation attending the games after the host city. Kelowna is the only city from Canada attending.
There are seven sports: ice hockey, figure skating, short-track speed skating, alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and winter orienteering.
Since Kelowna started competing in the international summer and winter games, local athletes have won 11 medals - two gold, four silver and five bronze. The most recent medal was a silver won by taekwondo athlete Brent Selby at the Summer Games in Daegu, South Korea, in 2012.
To date, 113 athletes and 30 coaches from Kelowna have participated in the games.
Kelowna is planning to send a full delegation - boys' and girls' basketball teams, two track-and-field athletes, and coaches - to the summer games in Windsor, Ont., in August.
The athletes are all 12-15 years of age and the games are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Since they began in 1968, 36,000 athletes from 390 cities in 78 countries have participated. Forty-five cities, including Kelowna in 2011, have hosted the games.