It’s not often the opportunity arises to represent one’s country on the international stage, but that chance came in late February for second-year kinesiology student and cross-country skier Alexandre Dumond.
“It was pretty sweet,” Dumond said. “I’d competed internationally before, but this was the first time I was on a national team.”
Dumond was part of the 10-member biathlon contingent representing Canada at the 24th Winter Universiade hosted by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) in China. He competed in the men’s individual 20 km race finishing in a time of 1:6:25.4, just nine and a half minutes behind the leader. He also competed in the men’s 12.5 km sprint and pursuit race finishing in the top 35, and the men’s mass start on the final day of competition, finishing in the top 30.
Dumond got his start in the biathlon through involvement in the military, and said his size was the reason he stuck with it.
“I started off with the No. 51 Air Cadet Squadron in Ottawa,” he said. “I was playing hockey and soccer but being 5’6” meant I wasn’t going to make it in either of those, so I decided to put more work into biathlon. Team Ontario had trials in 2005 and I made the team.”
In his second year of university, Dumond is only in his first year at Queen’s. He completed his first year at the University of Northern British Colombia in Prince George, B.C., but transferred to Queen’s so he could continue his academic career.
Because the Universiade was held right in the middle of the school term, Dumond said it was necessary to juggle his academics in order to compete.
“My profs have been really supportive, juggling timelines and creating modified assignments,” he said.
Along with assistance in the classroom, Dumond said the University, through a grant from the Student Initiatives Fund and the Phys-Ed and Kinesiology Association, was helpful in physically getting him to the FISU Games in China.
“I have equipment sponsors and suppliers,” he said. “The big thing is financial sponsors for travelling and race fees. … I get a chunk of cash from the Ontario government which comes from the lottery system. I also get money from Queen’s to support the trip costs.”
Dumond said this most recent foray onto the international stage doesn’t mean Queen’s fans should look for his name next year in Vancouver.
“Definitely not 2010 because it’s a sport that takes so long to develop,” he said. “If I do continue, there’s no reason I couldn’t be on the team in 2018.”
With the end of the term looming, Queen’s sports teams will soon bid many graduating athletes farewell. Among them will be fifth-year hockey player Amanda Morra, who scored a hat trick against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues last Tuesday to lead the Queen’s women’s hockey team to the OUA semi-finals against the Laurier Golden Hawks.
Although the team’s playoff campaign was unsuccessful, Morra said the Gaels’ season was still an accomplishment.
“I’m feeling pretty satisfied, pretty fulfilled,” she said. “I can’t say I’m disappointed. I’m proud of my team. I’m proud of how we did.”
Morra said the team’s chemistry has improved drastically since her arrival in 2004.
“When I first came here, the team wasn’t as connected as we are now,” she said. “We’re pretty much a family now; we do everything together. I think that closeness on and off the ice is what has helped us succeed.”
Not only has the team’s cohesiveness changed, but Morra’s role within the team has altered as well. She said she has progressed into a leader over her tenure with the Gaels.
“Now my job goes beyond the hockey arena,” she said. “I give advice to the girls, whether it be on picking classes or on life in general.”
With her Concurrent Education degree, Morra looks to become a high school Phys. Ed teacher. She said her experience with the hockey team reinforced that aspiration, adding that she was especiallyinfluenced by her involvement in the community projects the team pursues such as their relationship with the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and the annual girls hockey day camp the team runs during a P.A day.
“I’m really into promoting hockey,” she said. “It was through playing hockey and volunteering that I realized how much I love kids. I hope they can benefit from the sport as much as I have.”
Morra said the benefits of playing hockey at Queen’s helped her during her career on a social and academic level.
“It’s the sisterhood I guess,” she said. “It taught me a lot of skills you can’t learn in class. It’s an outlet. It promotes general health and well being that reduces stress and helps get you through university.”
Morra said the team’s involvement with the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston was another way for her to contribute to the sport and to the community. She said she intends to continue this contribution in the coaching vein.
“I’ve always been so busy with my own hockey, so that’s something I look forward to, being able to commit to that.”
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