This year’s World University Games in Almaty, Kazakhstan, will have a lone participant from Newfoundland and Labrador.
Seamus Boyd-Porter, a fourth-year Memorial University engineering student, will represent Canada in the biathlon event.
The Universiade, as the World University Games are also known, is an international sporting and cultural festival, which is staged every two years in a different city. The International University Sports Federation holds the multi-sport games for university students; 2,000 athletes between the ages of 17-28 from 55 countries will participate in the 28th winter games in Almaty.
“I am really excited to be representing my country and university in Almaty,” said Mr. Boyd-Porter.
“I am also a bit nervous as it is my first international competition. I can’t wait to explore Kazakhstan and ski the trails in Almaty.”
The Memorial varsity cross-country running athlete previously competed in the 2013 and 2015 Canada Games, where he took part in the mountain biking and cross-country skiing events, respectively.
Disciplined and focused
Mr. Boyd-Porter says currently his training consists of cross-country skiing and shooting in the winter, with some alpine touring — downhill skiing when you ski up — and strength training at the gym mixed in. In the summer, he runs a lot on the East Coast Trail and mountain bikes.
“I also roller ski on the roads of St. John’s — roller skis are like mini-skis with wheels. The people around Pleasantville give me weird looks.”
Despite soon heading off to compete at the international competition, the St. John’s native says he was introduced to biathlon relatively recently.
Mr. Boyd-Porter’s father, a lifelong ski enthusiast from British Columbia, strapped a set of skis on his son’s feet at the age of six. He fell in love with the sport, but it wasn’t until 2012 that he combined skiing with rifle shooting.
During his high school years, Mr. Boyd-Porter became involved with the Cadets Program, which led him to compete in several regional and national biathlon competitions.
Realizing he both enjoyed and excelled in the winter sport, Mr. Boyd-Porter says he elected to do his first university semester at the College of the North Atlantic in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The option to do introductory courses in Labrador allowed him to train full time and meet the requirements of his ocean and naval architectural engineering program.
Education is the priority for him, he says, but he also says his training regimen is complementary to his scholarly success. He says the discipline required for competing and training at an international level bleeds into his approach to his academic work. That balance is a necessity for student-athletes — it’s something Mr. Boyd-Porter says he understands well.
The 2017 Winter Games run from Jan. 29-Feb. 8; Mr. Boyd-Porter begins his event on the first day of competition.
With files from Thomas Penney.