As Canadians, we love sports. We are ecstatic when our athletes win medals. We all remember the 2016 Rio Olympics when Canada won 22 medals; I’m sure everyone can recollect the outstanding, history-making performances from Toronto-born swimmer Penny Oleksiak and Andre De Grasse, the sprinter from Scarborough.

Exciting news is both of these heroes were recipients of Quest for Gold funding from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Supporting athletes from the playground to podium is an important part of making Ontario one of the best places to train and compete in sports. The province invests about $9 million annually into high-performance amateur sports and enables amateur athletes from 50 different sports, from alpine skiing to amateur wrestling, to ace their sport.

I want to give a special shout-out to this year’s Quest for Gold athletes from my riding of Mississauga-Malton — Radane Wright (athletics, Paralympics), Navreet Suhan (volleyball), Mary Adarkwa (wrestling) and Kyle Duke-Simpson (basketball). As a member of Mississauga-Malton community, I’m very proud of these heroes and am hoping to see the Quest for Gold list growing year after year.

Mississauga has a lot of talented and high-potential athletes. None of us can ever forget Carlton Chambers, who brought home a gold medal as a member of Canada’s 4×100-metre relay team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Chambers started track in Grade 9 at Malton’s Ascension of our Lord Catholic Secondary School in 1990. Though he was from Mississauga-Malton, he had to be trained at the Brampton track club because of the lack of a club in Malton. High-intensity training starts at a young age with a high-quality training facility. Thirty years on, we still do not have a professional track in Mississauga-Malton for our kids to train, to help them succeed.

COVID-19 has presented unprecedented circumstances for amateur athletes and has affected their ability to practice and compete. I hope we can collectively rally to support our young aspirants, and provide them the best athletics track right here in Mississauga-Malton so that more of our young athletes can pursue their quest for gold.