LOCAL ATHLETES INDUCTED INTO THE Tumbler Ridge athletes Hall of Fame

Tumbler Ridge inducted two new members into its Sports Hall of Fame, on Thursday evening February 21, 2008. The ceremony took place in the lower level of The Community Centre at 6:30pm.

Mayor Mike Caisley presented the two athletes? awards along with Dr. Helm. The first to be inducted was Joseph Fierro for body-building and weight-lifting.

Fierro was nominated by Donald Clozza.

Fierro who was originally born in Nelson B.C, moved to Vancouver at age six and then on to Tumbler Ridge in 2003. Growing up Fierro showed interests in boxing and baseball, but by the age of ten his passions were weight-lifting and body-building. By the age of 15 Fierro was the strongest student in his school. Television was the newest technology at that time, but even getting a new television couldn?t deter him from spending time in his own gym in the downstairs of his home. He would also attend a larger gym three times a week, and it was there that he met his mentor Doug Hepburn, thought to be ?the strongest man in the world?. Fierro, who is mainly self-taught, worked on techniques from magazines he would read, travelling to competitions, and improving on others technical errors. Fierro started entering competitions in the early 1950?s, and it was then that he won his first title as Mr. YMCA. In 1953 he placed second in the Mr. B.C competition, but came back with first place the following year. Fierro broke the North American record in the rapid squats event, in which body weight plus an added fifty pounds is lifted repeatedly. He managed 242 pounds X 100 reps, but unfortunately, no eastern judges were present so this went unrecognized. At age 68 Fierro was still able to bench press 20 reps of 200 pounds, but an injury soon afterwards ended this sport for him. He volunteers by coaching weight-lifters in the Tumbler Ridge gym, where he can remain active in the sport that he lived his life for. Fierro says, ?please stay away from steroids?. You can get a beautiful body without them.

Katherine Szelag, nominated by Pernell Kirby, was the next to be inducted for TaeKwonDo.

Szelag was born in Calgary and moved to Tumbler Ridge in 1999 at the age of eight. Shortly after moving to Tumbler Ridge, she and her younger brother Martin joined the TaeKwonDo Club. Szelag started out with local competitions and then moved up to the Regional?s. Szelag not only enjoyed securing numerous first and second places but also the sport and team spirit in itself. By the time she and her family moved to Barrie Ont. in 2004, Szelag had tested for and received her red belt. While living in Barrie Szelag trained under the tutelage of Master Florin Fratean. Adjusting well to a demanding schedule, she and Martin took home first place in the North American Championships in Ottawa. In 2005 Szelag received her black belt, and also successfully tried out for the Junior Canadian National TaeKwonDo team. Szelag trained four to five times weekly; she also weight-lifted and attending training camps. At barely fifteen Szelag was the youngest to represent Canada at the World Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. Competing against 42 other nations, she advanced to the second round in the Junior Female Sparring Division.

Shayna Issak accepted Szelag?s award on her behalf.