EBOA referee Rolan, three-time national athlete Tony Flores

EBOA referee Rolan, three-time national athlete Tony Flores
Ed Tomick Award: Most Improved NOCP 2 – Rolan Latorre

Before I proceed to my main story, I’d like to congratulate Rolan Latorre for receiving an award from the Edmonton Basketball Officials Association (EBOA).
He won the Ed Tomick Award for being the Most Improved NOCP 2. We are proud of you referee Rolan! Yes, check out his photo on this page. Pogi eh?

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Tony Flores, Alberta’s first Advocate for Persons with Disabilities. (Photo credit: Alberta.ca)

Giselle General, who is running for the City Council of Edmonton this fall, posted on her FB page about an interesting Pinoy, Tony Flores.
Out of curiosity, I googled his name and tried to reach him out.

This is the beauty these days in finding out a news source or pursuing a lead. Gone are the days of going through a thick telephone book, calling the phone numbers of the sports federation to find where the athlete is, arranging a meeting over coffee, and you have to take public transportation to meet the news source for an interview using those bulky double A battery-powered voice recorders. After that, you start writing using a manual typewriter and send the news article to the editor in Manila by fax machine!

So much work those days for news writers, eh? Hahahaha.

Let’s go back to Tony Flores. My curiosity led me to sending him an email. Luckily, he responded and so I started asking questions.

Do you know that Tony represented Canada as a national athlete, three times? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, mga Pinoys at Pinays, three times a national athlete.

He competed for the first time in the 2009 ICF Paracanoe World Championships in Nova Scotia, then in 2010 in Poland and finally in 2011 in Hungary.

To represent Canada in the international stage is not a walk in the park. Tony said they must go through very competitive trials, and once selected, they train six days a week.

“It required a lot of hard work. Training six days a week, early morning practice and afternoon practice,” Tony recalled. It also required a lot of support from family and friends.
“I truly enjoyed spring kayaking. I raced in the single 200-meter sprint. But I was not a podium guy. It was indeed an honor to represent Canada,” he said.

I agree Tony, winning a medal is a bonus. To represent your country is the highest honor.

“Sports was my past life. But sports definitely helped define who I am now,” said Tony, who is now an Advocate for Persons with Disabilities in Alberta Province.

Tony said what enjoyed the most was the journey. “Appreciating the values of sports such as discipline, focus on commitment and respect for others. Sports helped define who I am now and sports opened up many opportunities for me. Sports is truly empowering.”

I totally agree Tony.
Here’s what I cannot forget when I attended the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Solidarity Movement seminar many years ago:
The IOC Charter states that “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement”.

And that’s the reason why I always believed that Sports is For All, stricken with polio like Tony or not.

That is why I love sports. My brain functions very well when we talk about sports, LOL.

So, now you’ll understand why I wish this Covid-19 vaccination is fast-tracked, so we can go back to our normal sports activities before we all go crazy!!!

Anyway, I hope Tony’s story would inspire our differently abled Kababayans to pursue sports in Canada and Tony, an advocate, is just an email away if you need some guidance.

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For news tips, announcements, and other information, kindly inform our Sports Desk by sending an email to mocolumnist@albertafilipinojournal.com.

Maraming salamat po and let’s keep spreading some love!

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