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McComb, Katona selected to skate at elite camp

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Sarah McComb, 10, and Shane Katona, 14, both members of the Border Figure Skating Club here, have been invited to participate in the Northern Ontario Section Skaters Development Camp in North Bay on Aug. 25-27.

The camp, organized to select about 60 of the most promising skaters from various regions in Northern Ontario, will be a chance for many young skaters to showcase their skills.

Local coach Penny McComb, who's daughter, Sarah, is going from here, said the camp is “geared to competitive skaters,” and will consist of a busy regime that will include off-ice training and dance-oriented classes.

“I've never been to one of these events but I was talking to another lady and she said the kids will be busy from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” she noted.

McComb said the camp is intended to target “good, young skaters” to help bolster a Canadian system that has weakened in recent years.

“The competitive lineup is very weak, and after [former world champ Elvis] Stojko, there's not really much [coming up the ranks].” McComb warned.

“Instead of concerning themselves with the next five years, [the Canadian program] wants to develop skaters for the next 10 years,” she added.

Katona made local figure skating history back in March when he was the area's first male skater to qualify for the all-Ontario championships in Kitchener after finishing third in his division at the Sunset Country regional competition in Kenora.

And McComb said the camp should be a great experience for Katona and her daughter. “It is quite an honour for these kids,” she noted.

“And because they live in a rural area, they sometimes don't always get as many opportunities as maybe some other skaters who come from much larger population areas,” she added.

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