For hundreds of gifted B.C. athletes – including a pair from the Peninsula – the financial burden of training and travel will be eased by a new sports program recently launched.

Growing Champions includes Keith Tidey, Riley McFarland

Program offers aid to Surrey’s top athletes

For hundreds of gifted B.C. athletes – including a pair from the Peninsula – the financial burden of training and travel will be eased by a new sports program recently launched.

Growing Champions, a partnership of Sport BC, PacificSport, and BC Athlete Voice, is a financial assistance program which connects businesses and individuals in British Columbia with promising athletes.

“These high-performance athletes traditionally rely on the Bank of Mom and Dad for the cost of training and competition,” said program spokesperson Susan Archibald. “This program will help with the cost of training, specialized equipment and travel to competitions.

“There are many athletes who go to competitions they can afford to go to, and not the ones they need to go to.”

The program is designed to provide financial assistance to athletes aspiring to compete at the international level, but who do not yet qualify for Sport Canada funding.

The athletes compete at national and international levels, but have not yet qualified for Canada’s national teams and have limited access to funding.

It’s estimated approximately 1,200 athletes will be eligible for funding through Growing Champions, 10 per cent of whom have already been identified.

“Pacific Sport and Sport BC will help identify the province’s elite athletes,” said Archibald. “Many athletes are already in the system, receiving training and sports medicine counselling.”

What they don’t receive is financial assistance, a shortfall which the Growing Champions program will address.

The program will actively solicit contributors from the business community, as well as individuals, who in turn will provide $5,000 a year annually, which may be in the form of a sponsorship or tax-deductible donation. Donors must commit to a three-year involvement, and Growing Champions has set a goal of securing 300 contributors for the program. Selected athletes receive $3,750 of each donation, with the remaining money allocated for future athlete development.

“This is a long-term program,” said Archibald. “It’s set up so it can operate in perpetuity.”

Two Peninsula athletes, Riley McFarland (volleyball) and Keith Tidey (diving) have been selected to receive Growing Champions funding.

Other Surrey athletes in the program included Lisa Nakajima (judo) and Cassandra Prygiel (diving) of Delta, and Michelle Burnham (rowing), Kevin Yang (taekwondoe), Stephanie Hansen (diving), Parminder Phangura (weightlifting) and Joke Adekola (weightlifting) of Surrey.

More information, including application information, is available at the Growing Champions website at or, or by sending an e-mail to

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Knights set to host Canucks alumni in charity fundraiser
NHL: For the Canucks, Chaos is a Ladder
A look at 10 memorable Canadian sports stories
Lehtonen, Stars shutout Canucks 2-0
Hawks happy with three points
High-flying Malm leading the way for Hawks
NDP blasts lottery corporation spending
Buena Vista Avenue closed after elderly pedestrian struck
Y walk when you can raise money

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 18 edition online now. Browse the archives.