The Niagara 2022 Summer Canada Games was one of the most anticipated sports events this year, with more than 5,000 youth athletes and their coaches in attendance.
It was also the first time that the Pat Lechelt True Sport Awards were presented.
"The Canada Games council hands out for the first and second week Pat Lechelt's True Sport Award to an athlete that best exemplifies the true sport principles and they are go for it, play fair, respect others, give back, have fun among a couple of others," Team Yukon Chef de Mission Trevor Twardochleb noted.
Two athletes were given the important award. One of them was Arcel John Siosan, a Filipino volleyball player from Team Yukon.
"There were a lot of emotions for sure. I didn't know that I was getting the award. It was a surprise for me. It took a while for me to process but I'm very grateful for this award," Siosan said.
For people who know him, the award was not a surprise.
"He works hard. He gives back. I mean all the principles we talked before, he knocks them out of the park. But he is a good person, a great teammate. I watched Arcel grow up as an athlete in the system for three or five sets of games and he's a real ambassador of Yukon," Twardochleb said of Siosan.
Siosan's brother RJ meanwhile described him as someone who has 'sportsmanship, a true leader, [and] one of the hardest workers I know on and off the court.'
Sports have always been part of Siosan's life.
He was already playing badminton, table tennis and volleyball even back home in the Philippines.
Siosan was 10 years old when his family arrived in Whitehorse, Yukon in 2011.
He later developed more skills in table tennis and volleyball, and went on to represent Canada in competitions in Alaska and Greenland.
In 2015, his father suffered a stroke. He was the one who called 911, a call that saved his dad’s life.
However, his father was left half paralyzed and unable to work. Siosan had to work two to three jobs to help his family
"Me and my siblings have to step up in helping my mother. That meant cleaning, building, other household chores at home, side jobs for our education," he shared.
Siosan is studying recreation management at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
When he received funding for his scholarship, he decided to share a part of it to his kababayans in Negros Occidental for his birthday.
"I wanted to do something special back home, to my small community in Barangay Miranda. We made care packages for the elderly population. We made around 60 different bags for 60 people. This is really a big project for me as this is my first."
He added, "After my initial charity work, something sparked in me to continue doing that hopefully in a bigger area, internationally."
Being a True Sport Awardee, Siosan has given pride to Canada and the Philippines for being an inspiring Filipino youth who loves his family and has never forgotten his roots.