In early November, 47 athletes from B.C. were honoured with a Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport.
Among that group was Sun Peaks First Nations Snowboard Team (FNST) member James Hamming, who was selected for the award for his commitment to snowboarding and snowboardcross. This is the third consecutive year a Sun Peaks athlete has received the prestigious award after fellow FNST members Bill Brewer and Richie Celesta were recipients of the award in 2017 and 2016 respectively.
“A lot of time when I’m racing and training I feel like it’s not worth it, (this award) just reaffirms that my work is paying off,” said Hamming.
The regional recognition serves as an automatic nomination for the provincial award given to 12 athletes in January 2019.
“I felt pretty accomplished,” said Hamming. “When I was in there getting the award it felt like ‘wow this is really real’ before I didn’t really know completely what it was.”
Spending two days a week training on the mountain and incorporating weightlifting as part of a dry land routine, Hamming said he mixes his days up by training for races and by having fun in the park.
“Snowboarding was just a hobby. Once I joined the team (FNST) I learned way more. I wouldn’t be as good as I was if I didn’t join the team,” he said.
Hamming started the sport at six and joined the Sun Peaks team when he was 12 or 13 racing three times a season. Now 17 years old, his racing schedule will increase as he was named to the BC Snowboard Cross Team for this year’s race season.
The Premier’s Award is a collaborative effort between Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council and the Province of British Columbia to recognize Indigenous athletes who are competing in sport and living healthy active lifestyles.