Klassen in line for honour

GLEN DAWKINS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Long track speed skater Cindy Klassen may have to make room for another award for her outstanding performance on the ice last year.

The 27-year-old Winnipegger has been nominated for female athlete of the year at the 34th annual Canadian Sports Awards, which will be presented March 23 at the University of Manitoba's Investors Group Athletic Centre. Klassen won the award last year and has already captured several honours for 2006 including having won the Manitoba female athlete of the year from the Manitoba sports media and the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as The Canadian Press female athlete of the year.

Klassen won a gold, two silver and two bronze medals at last year's Turin Winter Olympics to become Canada's most-decorated Olympian and captured the overall World Cup title in 2006. She will go up against cross country skier Chandra Crawford and freestyle skier Jennifer Heil, who both won gold medals in Turin.

Olympic gold medallist skeleton racer Duff Gibson, disabled cross country skier Brian McKeever and short track speed skater Francois-Louis Tremblay are nominated in the men's category.

Among the other finalists is fellow Olympic gold medallist long track speed skater Clara Hughes, nominated for the Spirit of Sport Story of the Year Award. As well, the men's national wheelchair basketball team -- which included Lorette's Joey Johnson -- was nominated for Male Team of the Year. The women's national wheelchair basketball squad -- with Manitoba provincial coach Bill Johnson as assistant coach -- is up for Female Team of the Year.

The presentation of the Canadian Sport Awards will kick off a celebration of sporting excellence co-hosted by event partners Sport Manitoba, the University of Manitoba and Destination Winnipeg.

SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS: Triathlete Willie Bell of Lockport of adaptive rower Meghan Montgomery of Winnipeg has been selected as this year's recipients of the Princess Royal Pan Am Scholarship.

Bell, 19, was a member of the Canadian junior national triathlon and duathlon teams in 2006 and placed sixth at the Junior World Duathlon Championships. The second-year University of Manitoba Science honours student was also a CIS academic all-Canadian in track and field.

A member of the national adapted rowing team, the 25-year-old Montgomery was a member of the LTA coxed four crew that won bronze at the World Rowing Championships. The University of Manitoba Education student was on the dean's honour roll list.

The Princess Royal Pan Am Scholarship Endowment Fund provides two annual scholarships of $3,000 each to a male and female high performance athlete enrolled in a post-secondary institution in Manitoba. It was established as a legacy of the 1999 Pan Am Games.

SOM AUCTION: An autographed photo of Indianapolis Colts quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning is among the items up for bids as Special Olympics Manitoba holds its first on-line fundraising auction this week at www.specialolympics.mb.ca.

The eight auction packages also include an autographed photo of Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher and a gourmet dinner and in-home wine tasting for six. Bids close Friday at 5 p.m.


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