Cadet Zhen Bian of 2136 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (Canadian Scottish Regiment) and his teammates had a successful weekend at the Vancouver Island Cadet Zone Biathlon Competition, held at HMCS Quadra in Comox on Sunday. Photo by Sgt. Philip McLeod, Cadet Correspondent.

Victoria cadets sweep medals at Island biathlon championships

Heavy snow at Mount Washington saw event moved to Comox

A group from 2136 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (The Canadian Scottish Regiment – Princess Mary’s) made the most of their day at the Vancouver Island Cadet Zone Biathlon Competition on Sunday.

The event, hosted at HMCS Quadra in Comox, saw Victoria cadets sweep the medals, with Conrad Nielsen placing first in the Cadet Male Youth category, followed by teammates Zhen Bian and Thomas Jones in second and third, respectively.

The cadets were three among 38 from across the Island competing in a test of fitness, teamwork and marksmanship skills on the summer biathlon course. The original plans to run the competition at Mount Washington had to be abandoned due to adverse weather conditions over the weekend.

But the change in venue did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the competitors.

The success of the cadets may lead them to even greater honors, as Nielsen and Bian qualified for the Provincial Biathlon Competition back at Mount Washington in February. Top finishers there advance to the Canadian championships in Charlottetown, PEI in early March, when national team spots will be up for grabs.

The cadet biathlon program is a recreational activity in which cadets compete in three age divisions; Cadet Junior (ages 12-13), Cadet Senior (ages 14-16) and Cadet Youth (ages 17-18). The program teaches valuable skills and, according to Capt. Cheryl Major of the Regional Cadet Support Unit (Pacific), has produced Olympians such as B.C.’s Emma Lundar who, until recently, was a sea cadet in British Columbia.

Lundar won a silver medal at the 2015-16 biathlon IBU Cup series and was named to Canada’s 2018 Olympic team for the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

“The self confidence, self-discipline and sense of accomplishment the cadets learn through this program can’t be over-stated,” said Capt. Beth Curtis of Regional Support Unit (Pacific).

The Cadet Program aims to develop in youth ages 12 to 18 the attributes of good citizenship and leadership, promote physical fitness and stimulate the interest of youth in sea, land and air activities of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Sea Cadets learn seamanship skills and how to sail. Army Cadets focus on adventure training such as outdoor activities and international expeditions. Air Cadets learn the principles of aviation, with some learning to pilot gliders, motorized aircraft or both.

In British Columbia, the cadet corps boasts 7,500 cadets in 140 separate groups located in 70 communities, provincewide.

Cadets are not members of the Canadian Armed Forces, nor are they expected to join the military. While they are introduced to Sea, Army and/or Air activities of the Canadian Armed Forces and certain traditions, they are also introduced to many other respectable career choices that are available to them.

For more information on the Canadian Cadet organizations, visit cadets.gc.ca.

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