The final day of competition at the BC Winter Games was full of action as the event came to a close in Greater Vernon, Sunday.
Zone 4 (Fraser Valley) finished on top of the medal standings with 99 medals.
Langley karate athlete Derrick Cruz was presented with the W.R. Bennett Award for Athletic Excellence in recognition of his achievements on and off the mat.
The award recognizes one athlete at each BC Winter and BC Summer Games who demonstrates athletic achievement and leadership and includes a $2,500 bursary.
At the Games, Cruz took home three gold medals in the Team Kata, Individual Kata, and Individual Kumite events.
“Derrick’s achievements are a good testimony to his dedication, resilience, and persistence – and he does it all with grace, calm, and the best attitude ever at his young age,” said Fraser Valley Zone 3 head coach Kamelia Fard.
The award was named in honour of the former Premier Bill Bennett, who was instrumental in starting the BC Summer and BC Winter Games program in 1978.
The award was first presented by Bennett at the 2008 BC Summer Games, which were hosted in his hometown of Kelowna.
The Vernon Games saw 900 of the province’s top young athletes compete in 15 sports over three days.
Participants came from 122 communities to compete at venues across the city.
The Games were originally scheduled to take place in 2022, but were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding and wildfires.
More than 300 coaches, 140 officials, and an army of 1,400 volunteers helped stage the events.
Athletes competed in alpine skiing, archery, artistic gymnastics, badminton, biathlon, cross-country skiing (including para), curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, judo, karate, rhythmic gymnastics, ringette, snowboarding, and wheelchair basketball.