|Program: OFSAA, OASG, NAIG|
|Ancestry: Garden River|
|Jersey Number: 6|
|Date of Birth: 2002|
|Home Town: Garden River First Nation|
|Hobbies: swimming, track training, volleyball, gymnastics, school studies|
|School: Korah Collegiate & Vocational School|
Jadyn Zeppa is an up and coming decorated track & field star with aspirations of joining Team Ontario at the 2017 North American Indigenous Games in Toronto as a stepping stone to representing Garden River at the Olympics one day. We get the opportunity to get to know Jadyn a little bit more as she embarks on her journey…
Aboriginal Sport & Wellness Council of Ontario: How did you develop such a passion for your sport?
Jadyn Zeppa: In Grade 3 I was asked to try out for the track and field team, so I did and I placed 1st in the 60 m race against Grade 5 students. From there I developed such a passion for track that I decided to follow my passion and continue on in the 100 meter and long jump. I felt that I would excel in the sport and I could basically do anything I put my mind to. Since then, I’ve competed every year at our City Track and Field Championships and placed 1st in the 100 meter races.
ASWCO: How do you prepare mentally and physically for the events that you take part in?
JZ: When I’m in the starting blocks I focus on a spot in front of me, ready to explode out of the blocks as the gun fires. I am currently with our local running club to build my skills and the training I’ve received has really helped me focus on techniques and they help prepare me to excel at my events. Staying physically active and fit and eating healthy helps me develop who I am as an athlete. I will be continuing my training in the fall and winter months and look forward to indoor meets. Overall, a positive attitude helps me achieve what I set out to do and become stronger and better.
ASWCO: There’s such a long and proud history of Aboriginal athletes from Garden River. What does your heritage mean to you as an athlete?
JZ: I am proud to be from the Garden River First Nation and I hope to encourage more of my peers and community members to participate in a sport they have passion and dedication for. I received words from my Elder on my First Nation and he told me “always be proud of where you come from and who you are and always shine and do your best”. To receive this message at my age is an honour in which I will always keep close to my heart. It is my hope that more kids my age get to have the experience that I’ve gotten thus far as it is very exciting for me.
ASWCO: What’re your long term ambitions with the sport?
JZ: At this moment I would love a chance to represent Team Ontario at the 2017 NAIG Games as it’s so exciting. I would like to get scholarships to move me forward to my dream of my career in health sciences and continue pursuing my passion and drive for the sport. My dream and vision is to represent my First Nation and my beautiful country at the Summer Olympics. I think it would be pretty awesome to compete nationally and at the Olympics.
ASWCO: You mentioned your eagerness to join Team Ontario for NAIG 2017, do you plan on trying out?
JZ: I think it would be very exciting and awesome to compete for Team Ontario and yes, I definitely plan on trying out for Team Ontario. And if I get the green light to compete, I know I will do well.
If you know a First Nations, Metis athlete that you think should be the ASWCO featured athlete please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org