By Ryan Laverty
Just when you thought you’d seen the last of Leighann Doan in the pages of the Gauntlet, she goes and does something worthy of more press coverage. In the company of her Dino team mate Jennifer Goldade, Doan is on her way to Beijing, China to represent Canada in the World University Games.
Doan, the Howard Mackie award winner as athlete of the year in the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union for 2000, missed the national team selection camp due to her wedding, but was exuberant about the opportunity for a second chance at this competition.
"Last time was a little disappointing. We finished fifth, but I thought we were competitive," explained Doan. Doan competed in Sicily, Italy during the 1999 instalment.
The legendary Dino expects somewhat better results this time around.
"I am really excited about getting back to these games," explained Doan. "The last time I went none of the girls had any international experience. I know this year we’ll have at least two returning players and I think we could win a medal."
As for Goldade, who was the only other Dino invited to the national camp, this will mark her first competition on the global scale.
"I really don’t know what to expect from the other teams," said Goldade. "I am taking this opportunity as a learning experience. I just want to play well and help the team win."
After an impeccable first four years with the Dinos, and with the departure of Doan, University of Calgary head coach Shawnee Harle is hopeful that Goldade will indeed learn from competing in Asia this summer.
"I hope it will challenge her to push her game to another level," resounded Harle. "I hope it makes her hungry for more."
Both ladies leave for Vancouver on Aug. 7 and then Beijing on Aug. 8. Goldade will return to the U of C in September to complete her final year of eligibility with the Dinos, while Doan will head to Europe to play professionally.
While the upcoming season will be exciting for both ladies, you can tell right now its the furthest thing from their minds. The task at hand is Beijing. And both are determined to represent their country, their school, their teammates and themselves, admirably.