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Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame welcomes 6 inductees

Sports hall grows by six

The Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum welcomed six new inductees during a ceremony at the Coast Capri Hotel Thursday morning.

The induction brings membership in the hall to 56.

Those inducted included Roger Lafontaine in the pioneer/builder category, Daphne Richard in the builder category and four athletes, Duncan McNaughton, Tania Jones, Robyn Buna and Kelsey Serwa.

Lafontaine was one of the driving forces behind establishment of BC School Sports, the body that oversees sports through to the provincial championship level. In the early 1960s, only basketball had a recognized provincial championship. Through BC School Sports, more that 30 sports now have provincial championships.

Lafontaine is also an award-winning national level referee.

Richard is known as the 'grande dame' of endurance equestrian riding in the Okanagan. Richard was a bronze medalist at the 2003 Pan Am Games and finished fourth in the 100-mile endurance race at the 2005 World Championships.

Upon retiring from competitive racing, Richard moved into the administrative side of the sport, serving as the first chair of Endurance Canada, while also serving as president and director of numerous provincial and national riding associations. She also helped develop Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park for recreational users.

McNaughton and Serwa both entered after winning Olympic gold in their respective sports.

McNaughton grew up in Kelowna, and learned to high jump on makeshift jumping pits on the beaches of Okanagan Lake.

He competed in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, eventually capturing the gold medal after more than five hours of competition. He won a jump-off by clearing 6' 5 5/8".

He perfected a barrel-roll technique that got him disqualified from some competitions because it was so revolutionary for the time.

Serwa retired from competitive skiing earlier this year, after a decade on the World Cup ski cross circuit. She is the first Okanagan woman to win a gold medal at the Olympics.

Serwa told the crowd Thursday she won the Olympic gold in South Korea despite a back that seized up just minutes before the start of the first race.

She also won an Olympic silver medal, X-Games gold, a world championship and numerous World Cup races.

Buna, who is studying to become a doctor, led Simon Fraser University to three national women's basketball titles. She was also named MVP one of those championship years, as well B.C. and national player of the year.

"I feel very lucky to be up here," she said during her induction.

Along with her success at SFU, Buna also played internationally as part of the national women's team.

Jones was a high school champion as well as a provincial and national champion while in university, and also participated in international marathons.

She also has her name in the Guinness Book of World Records as one of 100 women who completed a one-day relay in which each completed one mile. They finished with the lowest time ever recorded.

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