A local athlete has been granted a special honour.
When the Team B.C. athletes march into the opening ceremonies of the upcoming Western Canada Summer Games, local beach volleyball standout Nick Del Bianco will carry the province’s flag.
“It is a true honour to be selected as the flag bearer,” Del Bianco said.
“In my mind, it represents leading all of B.C.’s athletes into the Games and into the competition.
“I know that each and every one of us have all worked so hard and sacrificed so much to be representing our province.”
The 19-year-old Del Bianco was appointed the flag bearer last week by Ida Chong, the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.
The Western Canada Summer Games run Aug. 5-14 in Kamloops and the full list of B.C. athletes will be released on July 29.
Approximately 2,300 athletes will compete in 19 sports. The competition features athletes from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory.
Del Bianco is competing in beach volleyball. He also plays indoor volleyball and last season, his first with Trinity Western, the Fleetwood Park graduate helped the Spartans win the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship.
He has competed in several big competitions before — in 2009, he won gold at a youth beach volleyball tournament in Switzerland and he was fourth at the U19 world beach volleyball championships in Portugal last year.
But this will be his first time competing in a multi-sport competition. And he is excited for the opportunity.
Del Bianco has been busy since the university season ended.
Training with his partner, Ben Chow, the pair have competed in several tournaments and two weeks ago, they attended a tryout in Toronto to represent Canada at the U21 world championships in Halifax. The competition is in late August and they should find out soon whether or not they will represent their country.
And in addition to competing and training, Del Bianco keeps busy coaching.
He is part of a beach volleyball club, Sideout Beach, and he conducts camps in Langley and White Rock. Del Bianco also coaches a group of high performance girls from all over the Lower Mainland.
Altogether, he spends about 20 hours per week coaching.