HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
A New Journey (Part 1 of 3): Three local athletes have been selected by national sport governing bodies for sport-specific training. Each have excelled in their current sports, but have been recruited for opportunities based on their athletic potential in new sports. The initiative is connected to RBC Training Ground, a program that identifies athletes with Olympic potential across many sports. Today, High Achievers features Adriano Padoin-Castillo.
Read A New Journey (Part 2 of 3): Gymnast Kylar Rathwell aiming high to become a freestyle ski aerialist
Read A New Journey (Part 3 of 3): Volleyball player Griffin Grainger shows early signs of becoming a rower
By Martin Cleary
Multi-sport athlete Adriano Padoin-Castillo discovered speed skating by accident one day about five years ago. Now, there’s a possibility speed skating could be his next sport.
“I hadn’t really thought of speed skating. It’s a sport you don’t see a lot of,” said Padoin-Castillo, who entered the sports world trying water polo, taekwondo, gymnastics and skiing and has settled on soccer, hockey and track for now.
“There was one time I saw an (Ottawa Pacers Speed Skating Club) practice at Brewer Park. When they did their practice, I saw all the guys go fast. They covered a lot of ground quickly. I wanted to see what it was like.”
As a curious 10-year-old, he strapped on his hockey skates and gave it a shot, doing his best to imitate what he had just seen from a distance.
“It was cool. It was really different from hockey,” he said.
End of story for the moment.
Five years later, the Grade 10 student at Immaculata High School decided to see if there is yet another sport in his future, when he was one of thousands of Canadians who forwarded their name and test results to RBC Training Ground.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced Padoin-Castillo, 15, to do his speed, power and endurance tests in a virtual setting last June. He recently learned one of nine Canadian sports organizations were impressed with his results.
And that national sport organization was… Speed Skating Canada. Padoin-Castillo, who stands 5-5, had one of the top 14- to 18-year-old shuttle runs in the 20-metre Beep Test, which is a quick indicator for endurance measurement.
The other national sports looking to recruit athletes and potential Olympians through the Canadian Olympic Committee’s talent search program are boxing, nordic combined, ski jumping, freestyle skiing, cycling, rowing, rugby and canoe-kayak.
“It will be very cool. I’d like the opportunity to compete at a high level,” he added.
When the pandemic allows, Padoin-Castillo hopes to meet Speed Skating Canada officials for a series of sport-specific training sessions.
“This is a very big deal. It’s cool to even get a response. This is a great opportunity to represent Canada,” he said. “I was really excited when I got the news. I had no expectations, if I would do well.”
If that specific testing goes well, Padoin-Castillo could be nominated as one of the Top 100 finalists in the sixth RBC Training Ground program National Finals, which could take place in the fall, depending on health and safety protocols.
In the meantime, he’ll continue to work on his sports skills development with the Futuro Soccer Academy within the Ottawa St. Anthony’s club and the Ottawa Sting minor midget B hockey team.
A middle-distance runner, he placed second in the 2018 Ottawa Catholic School Board boys’ Grade 8 cross-country championship. In 2020, he ran in four Twilight Meets, staged by the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 48 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.