Laval native Tatiana Aholou was among four Laval student-athletes who were awarded National Bank bursaries last month. In total 40 recipients ranging from 13 to 26 years of age shared $130,000 as part of the 25th edition of the National Bank Bursary Program, in partnership with the Quebec Foundation for Athletic Excellence (FAEQ).
Aholou got involved in track and field by accident.
“I was in elementary school and they asked me to run in a race and I won,” the Vanier College student said last year. “I played team sports like soccer and gymnastics so running track meant learning a new training regimen.”
The learning curve was sharp, two years ago she captured two gold medals at the 2015 Canadian Outdoor Championships finishing in first place in the 100-metre sprint and the long jump and continued her meteoric rise in 2016.
This year’s award marks the second National Bursary for Aholou who has made her presence known in the world of Canadian track and field. In the past year, she set a Quebec junior record for the long jump (6.04 metres), and the 60-metre hurdles (8.41 seconds). She also took home three gold medals in the 60-metre, 60-metre hurdles and long jump at the 2016 Canadian Indoor Championships.
Aholou, who received a $4,000 Academic Excellence Award, is in her first year at Vanier College where she has maintained an 88 percent average in the classroom.
Other Laval recipients include tennis players Tiffany Lagarde, Nacaise Muamba, Taha Baadi and basketball standout, Mael Gilles.
Baadi was a double gold medalist at the 2016 Canadian U-16 Championships taking home first place in both the singles and doubles competition. She also captured a gold medal in doubles at an ITTF event in Guatemala.
Lagarde won a bronze medal at the 2016 U-16 Canadian Championships and a silver medal in doubles competition in an ITTF event in East Africa.
Muamba won gold in both the U-16 and U-18 Canadian championships last year and represented Canada at a Davis Cup event in Hungary.
Gilles capped off an excellent CEGEP career by being named a CCAA All-Canadian as she led Montmorency Nomads to an RSEQ championship. Next season she will be playing for one of the top NCAA basketball programs at Rutgers University.