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May 14 2014 ISN – LANGFORD, BC – Rugby Canada is very proud to announce Senior Women’s player Andrea Burk has been named as a recipient for the 2014 AthletesCAN and Investors Group Amateur Athletes bursary fund.

Investors Group annually awards twenty $5,000 bursaries to assist Canada’s elite amateur athletes with the costs of training and competition. Selection criteria include: athletic achievement, financial need and community involvement.

Burk recently sat down with Rugby Canada communications to discuss the award and the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Firstly, thanks Andrea for taking the time to talk to me. You recently won the AthletesCAN Bursary so can you tell us what was the application process was like?

Application was easy to submit and accessible on the athletescan.com website – Athletes CAN also offers many other invaluable resources for Canadian athletes. The bursary looks at a combination of athletic accomplishment, volunteer endeavors, and community involvement. Its important for me as a Rugby Canada athlete that women’s game continues to grow in size, strength and performance. The volunteer and community that I have done in these areas have always had that goal in mind.

What does winning mean for you personally?

I am totally honored to have been selected as a recipient. I don’t know if you have noticed but Canada has some pretty incredible athletes, to be listed amongst the other 19 recipients is an experience that I am so grateful for. Furthermore, to be selected as a rugby athlete amongst many other athletes and sports speaks to the growth and the forward strides that the sport of rugby and Rugby Canada has made over the last couple of years – Canada is starting to notice.

Speaking of Canada’s amazing athletes, how does this award help you as an athlete? What does it allow you to do?

Meagan Duhamel, Olympic pairs figure skater, said it very well “to be a successful athlete it takes dedication, hard work, determination, and financial assistance.” By simply backing an athlete through sponsorships, donations, or bursaries, you are doing so much more than providing them with a means to alleviating stress and financial obligations associated with training and competitions.

You are telling these athletes that you believe in them, and that they and their dreams are worth it; you are propelling them forward and increasing their belief in themselves. This great sense of belief and self worth, in my experience, is the most important aspect reaching high performance goals. A big thank you goes out to IG for their continued support and belief in Canada’s athletes.

With only 14 weeks until our Canadian Women’s Rugby Team will be competing for the World Cup. This bursary means I will be able to focus on that goal and know its ok to take a pause from other paid work. I will be able to increase my training loads, enhance my recovery, and continue to be involved in community coaching and rugby programs. This bursary will ensure that I am in the best possible mental and physical form going into the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

We’re all very excited for the World Cup around here. Can you tell us how the team’s preparation is going?

I am definitely on a high since CanAms. Coming from behind in the second game, and keeping our foot on the gas pedal, was an important lesson for us as a team to learn. It doesn’t matter how beat or how tired we might feel at any given point in a game, we need to pull together and cannot quit. I’ve taken these feelings of team and perseverance back with me to North Vancouver and it has been pushing me through many training sessions.

FULL ATHLETESCAN PRESS RELASE BELOW

North Vancouver, BC native Andrea Burk awarded 2014 Team Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund Bursary

OTTAWA (May 9, 2014) – AthletesCAN and Investors Group are pleased to announce that rugby national team member Andrea Burk has been awarded a $5,000 Team Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund bursary.

In keeping with their commitment to amateur sport in Canada, Investors Group established a bursary fund for Canada’s top high performance athletes. A national leader in delivering personalized financial solutions to Canadians, Investors Group annually awards twenty $5,000 bursaries to assist Canada’s elite amateur athletes with the costs of training and competition. Selection criteria includes: athletic achievement, financial need and community involvement.

2014 marks the 15th anniversary of the Team Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund, in partnership with AthletesCAN. Since its inception in 2000, the Team Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund has provided more than $1,500,000 to Canadian athletes. AthletesCAN administers the bursary on behalf of Investors Group.

“Investors Group considers it an honour to help support our nation’s elite athletes with these bursaries,” says Richard Irish, Vice-President, Community Affairs and Marketing Support for Investors Group. “Athletes at this level are constantly juggling the demands of work and school with training and competition. For 15 years now, we have been pleased to provide Canada’s athletes with bursaries totaling over $1 million to make those demands easier to manage.”

“This bursary recognizes the dedication and excellence Andrea exhibits both on and off the field of play,” says AthletesCAN Executive Director Jasmine Northcott. “AthletesCAN really appreciates the Investors Group’s ongoing support of Canada’s national team athletes, and we are really excited to see this bursary assist Andrea in achieving her dreams.”

Andrea’s recent sport accomplishments include winning the 2014 Can-AM Cup Series with the women’s national team and being awarded the Shawnigan Lake School ‘Player of the Series’ award. She has also been named to Canada’s Women’s Fifteens roster for the upcoming three-game tour of New Zealand in June.

“I feel absolutely grateful and ecstatic to have been selected as a Team Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund bursary recipient”, says Andrea. “With only 14 weeks until our Canadian Women’s Rugby Team will be competing for the World Cup, this bursary means I will be able to increase my training loads and enhance my recovery, ensuring that I am in the best possible mental and physical form going into the event. It also enables me to continue to be involved in community coaching and rugby programs without having to worry about financial stressors”, she adds.

“By simply backing an athlete through sponsorships, donations, or bursaries, you are doing so much more than providing us with a means to alleviating stress and financial obligations associated with training and competitions”, explains Andrea. “You are telling us that you believe in what we do, and that our dreams are worth it; you are propelling us forward. This great sense of belief and self-worth, in my experience, is the most important aspect reaching high performance goals”, she adds. “Thank you IG for your continued support and belief in Canada’s athletes.”

2014 Team Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund Bursary Recipients:

Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, ON) – Hockey
Stacie Anaka (Victoria, BC) – Wrestling
Gabriel Beauchesne-Sévigny (Trois-Rivières, QC) – Canoe Kayak
Philippe Beaudry (Montreal, QC) – Fencing
Mandy Bujold (Kitchener, ON) – Boxing
Andrea Burk (North Vancouver, BC) – Rugby
Emily Cameron (Summerside, PEI) – Rowing
Breanne Dodd (Surrey, BC) – Water Ski
Joanna Guy (Toronto, ON) – Fencing
Garett Hickling (Kelowna, BC / London, ON) – Wheelchair Rugby
Kyle Jones (Oakville, ON / Milton, ON) – Triathlon
Pamela LeJean (Cape Breton, NS) – Wheelchair Athletics
John Leslie (Arnprior, ON) – Para Snowboard Cross
Jaye Milley (Calgary, AB) – Para Cycling
Dylan Moscovitch (Toronto, ON / Waterloo, ON) – Figure Skating
Toby Ng (Vancouver, BC) – Badminton
Mercedes Nicoll (Whistler, BC) – Freestyle Snowboarding
Catherine Roberge (Quebec, QC) – Judo
Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) – Speed skating
Karine Thomas (Montreal, QC) – Synchronized Swimming

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