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Yellowknife

Sir John Franklin celebrates three sporting alumni


Sir John Franklin High School added three names to its Athletics Hall of Fame at an induction ceremony last week.

The school honoured alumni Pooja Chugh (racquet sports), Hannah Clark (speedskating), and Graeme Ryder (basketball), while handing out athlete of the year awards to current students.

Chugh, the first inductee of the night, attended Sir John Franklin for four years and graduated in 2011. Having represented both the NWT and Canada in her sport, she compared the feeling of being inducted to the time she first played outside Canada.

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“It’s the same feeling I had when I first started playing internationally – that feeling of representing your country, that feeling of representing your school. It’s just really nice to be honoured today,” she said.

Clark, the second athlete to be welcomed to the hall of fame, reached short-track speed skating’s national championships alongside appearances at the Canada Games.

Even when she was young, her coaches described her as “determined, committed, and enthusiastic.”

Clark overcame a diagnosis of thyroid cancer, continuing to train to become an elite speed skater.

She told Sir John Franklin students: “Stay involved in sports. It’s going to benefit you overall in the long run, even though it may be difficult to juggle school and everything else on your plate.”

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Ryder, a basketball phenomenon during his high-school days, was the last inductee of the night.

Ryder represented the NWT several times, including the 1999 Canada Summer Games and the Arctic Winter Games in 2002 and 2004.

Memories flooded back to him as he stood in the gym he once dominated.

“What I remember the most is the practices more than the games, because that’s when you’re with all the guys and the coaches. It’s nice to be back here,” he said.

This year’s inductees join the likes of snowboarders Molly Milligan and Andrew Matthews and curler Jamie Koe, who entered the hall of fame in previous years.

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