Hosting the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games is paying off long-term for Kamloops.
Henry Pejril, president of the Kamloops games, told City council Tuesday a new, ongoing event involving high-performance athletes will follow.
Starting in 2013, the Legacy Performance Games are coming to Kamloops.
Pejril explained that the event will host high-performance athletes in a variety of sports that will change over time. Every second year, the games will be a masters’ event.
Some kids don’t get the benefit of the main Games events, held every four years, because of timing and age groups, he said.
The Legacy Performance Games would give some of those kids a chance to improve their performance in between full-fledged Games, he said.
The 2011 Western Canada Summer Games have legacy funds that are aimed at provincial sports after an event is held. Pejril said organizers here wanted something that can help B.C. athletes, but also benefit Kamloops.
The goal is to have the Legacy Performance Games become a fundraiser that makes the city’s sports council self-sustaining.
Next year, the Legacy Performance Games debut as a trial event in Kamloops June 27 to 30 with seven sports to start: cycling, wrestling, synchronized swimming, canoeing, kayaking, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis and, as a demonstration sport, beach volleyball.
Pejril is expecting at least 600 athletes for next summer’s event. But he also expects it will grow to about 15 sports and 2,000 participants.
In 2014, the first annual Legacy Performance Games will proceed. In 2015, it’ll be the Legac Masters Games. In 2016, the Legacy Performance Games return, and so on.
The Western Canada Summer Games legacy funds will ante up $80,000 a year for the next three years for the new Kamloops competition. Council voted unanimously for the City to put in a matching amount.
“This is good news. We’ve been working on it for almost two years now,” he said.
“Once this is off the ground, we may look at doing a winter event as well.”