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‘Huge honour’: Greater Victoria athletes tackle inaugural Canada Games karate competition

Oak Bay, Reynolds student make up 2 of 9 members on Team BC
Oak Bay athlete Ella Crowle and Saanich athlete Olivia Brodie join Team BC at the Canada Winter Games this month. Both athletes qualified in the kumite discipline of karate which makes its debut at the 2023 Games. (Courtesy Varsity Performance Karate)

Two local athletes spar for Team BC when karate debuts at the Canada Winter Games in PEI this month.

Oak Bay High student Ella Crowle and Reynolds secondary student Olivia Brodie train at Saanich-based Varsity Performance Karate with sensei Kraig Devlin

The two 17-year-old girls have trained together the past five or six years, Crowle said, and each provincial karate team is made up of nine members, making the competition even more special.

“It’s a huge honour to obviously have the sport in the Games but to also be a part of the team that’s able to go,” Crowle said.

Crowle earned a berth finishing first in her category – kumite plus 59 kilograms – during a December selection tournament. Each category’s first-place finisher earned a spot and Brodie scored the wildcard position.

Both athletes are past medalists at the BC Winter Games, and each competed internationally last summer: Crowle at the Commonwealth Karate Club Championships held in Birmingham, England and Brodie for Team Canada at the Junior Pan American Karate Championships in Mexico City.

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“It is an individual sport but it’s also kind of a team sport in the sense you train with your teammates and grow with your teammates but you compete on your own,” Crowle said.

Karate’s inaugural appearance in the Canada Winter Games is something the teens, and coach Kraig Devlin have been preparing for since 2020.

“I want the whole experience to be great. It’s such an honour to represent Team BC because it’s the first time at the Canada Games,” Crowle said, admitting to some pressure.

“I want to do the best I can and learn from the whole experience and learn from my competitors. The goal is obviously to win, but that’s everyone’s goal.”

Regardless of results, the sport itself is someone Crowle recommends for anyone, any age as its benefits include critical self-defence skills.

“It’s an active sport but it also teaches you a lot of respect and discipline.”

Prince Edward Island hosts the Canada Winter Games from Feb. 18 to March 2. Visit for scores and online viewing options.


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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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