Local teen snowboarder receives provincial grant
A young snowboarder will be able to take her training to new heights this winter thanks to a grant from the Alberta, Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation.
Kira Lengkeek of Airdrie recently received a $1,500 grant from the foundation to pursue a career in snowboarding. Lengkeek and her family applied for the grant, which requires the athlete to be training to compete in an Olympic, Paralympic, Pan-American, Paralympic Pan-American or Commonwealth Game discipline.
“You only get it once,” said Lengkeek, 13. “It’s to support you paying for your coaching and travel and gear. You have to spend it within Alberta and I figured spending it on coaching would be the best way (to use it).”
Lengkeek has been snowboarding since she was six years old after starting out on skis. She switched to boarding and built up a love for the sport after hitting the slopes with her brother and his friends. She started competing two years ago at Canada Olympic Park (COP) with the Riders on Board club and soon found herself medalling in several major events.
She won a gold medal in boardercross and a silver in slopestyle at the 2012 Alberta Winter Games and placed fifth at Nationals, which was held in April at COP. Lengkeek was the youngest competitor in the 13- to 19-year-old age bracket.
While she competes in all the available snowboarding disciplines, her favourite is super pipe.
“It gives me a good experience and it’s a lot of fun,” said Lengkeek. “I’m trying to do a lot more competitions and hopefully get to the Olympic level. Right now I’m just doing it for fun and for the competitions and building my skills. I want to get more girls into riding.
“It is quite a male-dominated sport and a lot of girls don’t like it because it’s aggressive. I’ve been trying to get a lot of my friends into snowboarding.”
Lengkeek said she is grateful for the grant, as it allowed her to purchase a new board as well as pay for her training. Lengkeek’s mother, Shannon, said the grant was very helpful.
“She really loves snowboarding and we want to support her in that,” she said. “It does get quite costly. We have a lot of gratitude for (the foundation) supporting Alberta athletes so they can develop their skills and continue to represent Alberta and Canada.
“It takes a lot of time and dedication from these kids and they’ve worked really hard. So, having this to help out the costs is really appreciated.”