It has been a whirlwind of activity for Oonah Gamboa (Vancouver) since arriving in PEI for the 2023 Canada Winter Games.
The 17-year-old karate athlete carried the Team BC flag into the Games opening ceremony. This followed a busy afternoon that included a national press conference with flag-bearers from all provinces and territories, the federal and PEI sport ministers and Canada Games officials.
“It was very exciting,” said Gamboa in her first interview at the Games. “Everyone is very welcoming saying that we are all Islanders, especially for me coming from the other side of the country.”
Team BC was the first to arrive at the Athletes’ Village at the University of PEI Campus.
“This my first tournament where I am travelling alone, I was a little nervous not travelling with my family,” said Gamboa. But, being part of the larger Team BC team has made things easier. She’s rooming with the BC curling and squash athletes.
“In my sport, the mental game is on the inside. But with squash, we have a great atmosphere with those athletes. They are very cheerful. Our karate athletes are a little more mellow.”
Speaking about the first few days in the Village, she’s enjoying being at a national multisport Games.
“Definitely, this is a larger scale event. I love seeing the different jackets from the different provinces.”
Gamboa has been building her sport resume with great results. She enters the Canada Games ranked fourth in the world and first in Canada in Junior Kata. She placed third at the junior world championships last year. For the Canada Games, her expectations are measured.
“I know the other athletes I am competing against. I feel like it will be a good competition.”
A BC Games alumni from 2018 and an active volunteer in her sport, Gamboa will be back at the provincial multi-sport event in 2023 as an apprentice coach for Zone 5 Vancouver-Coastal when the Games take place March 23-26 in Greater Vernon.
Karate is making its debut at the 2023 Canada Games with the events getting underway on February 20.
- Filed by Sam Correa (@sammy_sez), Team BC Communicatoins
Follow along with Team BC