Ceremony recognizes athletes representing Kelowna in South Korea this summer

Children's games sendoff

Kelowna will send a full contingent of athletes and coaches to South Korea next month, competing in the International Children's Games.

The 55th summer games will take place in Daegu from July 5 to 10.

Lance Macdonald, chair of the Kelowna International Children’s Games committee, says each participating city is allowed to send 18 athletes in four of the nine sports taking place at this year's games.

Kelowna will send a boys volleyball team as well as athletes in track and field, swimming and Taekwondo, along with four coaches and other officials.

The contingent gathered in Stuart Park on Tuesday afternoon to receive their official team jersey, courtesy of the Kelowna Rotary Club Ogopogo, and team jacket.

The annual event is open only to cities who have hosted a previous event. Kelowna will be competing for the 15th time since hosting the ICG winter games in 2011.

Macdonald says the games were founded in 1968 by Metod Klemenc, a Slovenian track and field coach who lost his family and friends to the second world war.

"He wanted to do something to prevent that from ever happening again, and I can't think of that being more appropriate or needed than in today's world," said Macdonald.

"What he knew was sport, and what he believed is if you could get young people together before they've been indoctrinated with everything their parents believe, you have an opportunity to promote peace and understanding.

"So, he started the International Children's Games."

The games are open to athletes from 12 to 15, and is run under the Olympic banner.

Since competing in 2011, Kelowna has sent more than 275 athletes to games around the world.

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