Six inducted into Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame

The Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame welcomes six new inductees in 2017.

Included in that group is 37 year-old Kelowna resident Malindi Elmore in the Athletes Category.

Elmore competed for Canada at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece in the 1500 meters and was a four time Canadian champion.

"I didn't choose running, running chose me.  I would say to my dad, it felt like flying when I ran down the street. Will you time me? I didn't know what training was but I always felt free when I was running and it was what I was meant to do". 

Also inducted into the Athletes Category is Conrad Leinemann. The Kelowna resident, who now works in Toronto, competed for Canada in beach volleyball at the 2000 Summer Olympics and won the gold medal at the Pan American Games. 

Wheelchair Rugby athlete Garett Hickling has four Paralympic Games medals, including one gold, two silver and two bronze medals. Hickling will also be inducted alongside Elmore and Leinemann. 

In the Pioneer Category, the Kelowna Buckaroos will enter the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame for establishing junior 'A' hockey in the city.  

Bob Gruber was the Buckaroos captain from 1961 until 1963.

"We had great rivalries with Vernon, especially in the playoffs.  Three to four hundred fans would come down, sit right by the Vernon players box. The same thing when we went to Vernon to play. We had  three or four hundred fans that would follow us".        

In the Coach/Bullder Category, West Kelowna's Chris Taneda will be inducted. 

The now 60 year-old is a six time Canadian karate champion and four time world champion. 

Taneda now teaches children Karate, a sport he dominated in his prime.

"It is not just that your smart or you are fast,  but if you work hard you can achieve something. That is what we are trying to do within our group is to get that message to the kids. If you work hard, you can get there".         

The Bennett Award will go to the Western Canada Basketball Tournament, which is held every winter at Kelowna Senior Secondary.  

It is regarded as one of the premiere tournaments in Western Canada.

The official induction ceremony is slated for November at the Coast Capri Hotel.