Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, August 15, 2007
CHESTERFIELD INLET - Rankin Inlet claimed the overall championship at the 2007 Inuit Games Territorial Championship in Chesterfield Inlet earlier this month.
Chester took second place at the event, while Baker Lake claimed third.
Donovan Ayaruak of Rankin Inlet accepts the 2007 Inuit Games Territorial Championship trophy from Sport Nunavut's Greg Tanuyak in Chesterfield Inlet earlier this month. - photo courtesy of Rene Autut
A total of 30 athletes competed from the Baffin and Kitikmeot regions, while 79 athletes took part from the Kivalliq.
The athletes competed in the open male and female, junior male and female (born 1991 or later) and elder (born 1952 or later) categories at the event.
Kivalliq athletes took three of the top four individual honours.
Sean Nipisar of Whale Cove set a new record in the kneel jump (5 feet 1.5 inches) on his way to the All-Around Open Male award, while Rankin's Susie Pearce captured the All-Around Open Female award.
Baker's Sean Uquqtuq took the All-Around Junior Male award, while Naomi Alookie of Taloyoak prevented a Kivalliq sweep by taking the All-Around Junior Female award.
Donovan Ayaruak was one of the male athletes with the Rankin team.
He said the Rankin athletes were well-prepared for this year's event and did a good job in capturing the overall championship.
"Our elders did well and Susie Pearce and Ronald Anawak Jr. also earned a lot of points for us," said Ayaruak.
"I competed in every event and was pretty happy with my performance.
"My favourite events are the one-foot-high kick and the two-foot-high kick because the competition is really intense in those events."
Ayaruak said a real rivalry has developed between Rankin and Chester.
He said the difference this year was that the Rankin athletes were better prepared and seemed to want the overall championship more.
"Having home advantage is overrated.
"Once an event starts, you're concentrating so hard that you're not really aware of what's going on around you.
"It's nice to do well in your home community, but that's no big advantage once the competition actually starts."
Ayaruak has been competing in Inuit games for more than five years.
He said his goal is to one day kick over nine feet.
"I almost made it in Chester, but I topped out at eight feet, 10 inches.
"Sean (Nipisar) hit nine feet in 2004 and my goal is to break his record.
"Maybe I'll get it at the 2008 Arctic Winter Games in Yellowknife."