Gala Excellence Outaouais: Aylmer is well represented
The Gala Excellence Outaouais crowned 26 winners, some of whom came from the Aylmer sector. The athletes who trained hard all year round and won medals in the process were rewarded for their efforts during the evening. They even had the opportunity to receive advice from the honourary president, the legendary Guy Lafleur.
In addition to illustrating the athletes’ sporting achievements, this gala highlighted academic excellence. Félix-Olivier Bertrand in judo, Sarah Gauthier in badminton and Chloé Desjardins in multi-sport are among the recipients of this award.
Félix-Olivier won the gold medal at the Canada Games last February. “I’m really proud. I can participate once in my life, so this was my chance to get a medal.”
Judokas weighing less than 50 kg must work hard to combine sport and studies. With 15 hours of training per week, he has to work overtime at school when he goes into competition. “Sport is a motivation to be better in my studies,” he says. He will compete in the Canada Cup Judo on June 30.
His father, Jean-François Bertrand, was named Manager of the Year with the Club de Judo St-Jean Bosco. So he’s training his son. “When we get to the surface, I become the coach. It’s open and it’s really well managed. Judo is the way to flexibility, so even if it’s a fighting sport, it’s very respectful.”
Sarah Gauthier, from École secondaire Grande-Rivière, won gold at the regional doubles badminton championship and reached the quarter-finals at the provincial level. Chloé Desjardins from Pontiac, plays rugby, volleyball, figure skating and basketball.
Brandon Edwards, the basketball coach at Heritage College, has been named successor coach by the Pat Burns Foundation. His team had a perfect season, reaching the provincial championship with gold.
“My father was one of Pat Burns’ friends when he was a kid. He talked a lot about him, so it is a great honour to receive this award,” he says.
Hockey legend Guy Lafleur was there to inspire young people. Coming from Thurso, he was a choice guest to meet the athletes of the Outaouais region.
“What’s important in all this is that you have to have fun. Sport is a game and not a job. For me, it’s always been a game and that’s how you get better. It’s the only way a young person will make the most of his talent,” he told me.