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2 Kelowna speed skaters compete at national-level championships

Talia Halperin and Calla Haaheim both had impressive showing
Calla Haaheim (white helmet) competed at the Junior Short Track championships in Calgary from Nov. 9-12. (Trevor Haaheim/Contributed)

A couple local athletes represented the Kelowna Speed Skating Club at the Canadian Neo-Junior and Junior Short Track championships in Calgary earlier this month.

Talia Halperin (15) made their national-level debut in the neo-junior level, taking on other 14 and 15-year-olds. All skaters take part in the 500 metre, 1,000 metre, and 1,500 metre heat. Halperin earned herself a spot in the A-final of the women’s B group and in that final, won second place.

In the 500m and 1,000m, she finished 19th and 20th respectively.

Calla Haaheim (16) was competing in her second Canadian Junior Championships, which serves as a selection for junior World Cup events including the World Junior Championships in Europe and the Youth Olympic Games in South Korea.

After two days of racing, Haaheim just missed the top-10 in the 500m and 1,000m and placed 16th in the 1,500m. On day three, she placed 11th in the 1,500m but made the top 10 in both the 500m and 1,000m heats. The next day, she made her first career A-final appearances in the 500m and 1,000m, where she places fifth in both. In the 500m race, she set a new personal best with a time of 45.430 seconds.

She finished 10th overall in points at the championships, missing the Youth Olympic Games by three spots.

“Calla was amazing, she really gained confidence over the four days and by Sunday she showed everyone her true potential by finishing in the top five in both the 1000m and 500m,” said coach Elizabeth Ward. “We are talking about the top five girls in the country, with some of those girls being medal contenders at the Junior Worlds. She proved to herself she could do it and I’m excited to see her race in the future.”

Both Haaheim and Halperin will be back in Calgary from Dec. 1-3 for the CanAm International Long Track competition.

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Jordy Cunningham

About the Author: Jordy Cunningham

Hailing from Ladner, B.C., I have been passionate about sports, especially baseball, since I was young. In 2018, I graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops with a Bachelor of Journalism degree
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