Innisfail athlete Darius Ramrattan has been named March's Male Athlete of the Month by the Alberta Sport Development Centre -- Central.
“Darius has been in our program for several years now and is one of the top paddlers in the country and definitely in Alberta,” said Miles Kydd, executive director of the development centre (ASDC-C). “He's the kind of athlete we're looking to help pursue their sport.”
The Red Deer centre provides the athlete enhancement program to emerging athletes between the ages of 12 and 18, and helps athletes like Ramrattan pursue their athletic dreams.
“We highlight two athletes a month, one male and one female,” Kydd added. “We had (Ramrattan) working one-on-one with a sports psychologist prior to going to the worlds (Junior World Kayak Championships) in Brazil last year.”
The ASDC-C provides sports science services such as strength and conditioning, nutrition seminars and sports psychology. In addition, it can also assist with financial support for flights to and from competitions.
“He's pretty driven right now to get back to where he was,” said Kydd. “We're trying to help him as much as we can.”
That help has been a big boost, both mentally and physically, for the 17-year-old local kayaker, who was involved in a serious hiking accident last August.
That accident saw Ramrattan slide about 20 metres down a mountainside and left him with a broken femur and pelvis, as well as a shattered left heel. He spent several months at a hospital in Calgary and at home recovering from the extensive injuries.
“I'm honoured. It's quite the prestigious award,” Ramrattan said of being named male athlete of the month. “I'm very glad they've chosen to support me and stand by me through my time of recovery.
“I'm still recovering from (the accident). I spent three months in the hospital, but I'm back paddling now and back at school so everything is slowly getting back to normal.”
Despite the setback last summer, Ramrattan is now determined more than ever to continue kayaking and regain his place on Canada's national kayak team this summer. He hopes to travel to Krakow, Poland in July to compete in the ICF (International Canoe Federation) Junior and U-23 Canoe Slalom World Championships.
The competitive slalom kayaker won a bronze medal at nationals last July and is thankful for the support he's received from ASDC-C.
“It's great to be back kayaking,” said Ramrattan. “They really do give you the tools to mould yourself into a very good athlete.”
"I'm very glad they've chosen to support me and stand by me through my time of recovery. I spent three months in the hospital, but I'm back paddling now and back at school so everything is slowly getting back to normal."