Inuit and Dene Games Championships revived

Last year, both Inuit and Dene Games Yukon Championships were cancelled due to a lack of participants. This year, not only were both championships held over the weekend, some hot prospects for the next Arctic Winter Games were seen in action.

Last year, both Inuit and Dene Games Yukon Championships were cancelled due to a lack of participants. This year, not only were both championships held over the weekend, some hot prospects for the next Arctic Winter Games were seen in action.

“A lot of the athletes that were here today, there’s a good chance that they will be part of the team,” said Yukon Aboriginal Sport Circle executive director Greg Edgelow. “I would anticipate that most of them will be part of the team.”

At Saturday’s Inuit Championships, held at Yukon College, there was one division winner who didn’t surprise anyone. Whitehorse’s Anna Rivard, 15, was not only the junior female champ, she swept the division and won six gold medals.

“We have a very strong junior female and that’s Anna Rivard,” said Edgelow. “She dominated. In all the other divisions there was some close rivalries, but she dominated everything.”

Rivard, who is a Level 5 gymnast, could obviously lend some of her gymnastics skills to the games, but competing against friends and fellow gymnasts, all of whom were supportive of each other, gave her the biggest advantage, said Rivard.

“Having the athletes’ and friends’ support really helped a lot,” she said.

Surprisingly, it was the first time Rivard had competed in the Inuit games and only the second time trying them.

“At the 2006 Arctic Winter Games I was trying out for gymnastics and my sister and brother were trying out for this,” said Rivard. “I came to one of their practices and I tried it just for fun and (Team Yukon coach) Cody Wilkinson said I could make the team, but I already made another team.”

Rivard hopes to qualify for Team Yukon for the Arctic Winter Games taking place in March in Grande Prairie, Alberta. As a Level 5 gymnast, Rivard no longer qualifies to compete at the Arctic Games for gymnastics.

But given the chance she will help the younger gymnasts in Alberta while there competing in the Inuit games.

“It’ll be different when I’m at the Arctic (Games) because I don’t know how the other girls compete,” said Rivard.

On Sunday, at the Dene games championships held at Elijah Smith School in Whitehorse, Mike Evans from Haines Junction was the all-around winner for the open men’s division, taking first in the stick pull, finger pull and third in the snow snake.

“Last time around with Arctic Winter Games, in 2007 in Yellowknife, I was a coach, athlete and chaperon, so that’s when I first got involved,” said Evans.

“The finger pull is an interesting one because there’s a risk of injury because you’re pulling on people’s fingers pretty tightly, so it’s not everyone’s favourite event, but it takes a bit of bravado to get in there. That’s a fun one to watch and it’s fun to be outside for the snow snake.”

Arctic Winter Games tryouts for the Inuit and Dene games teams will take place in January.

Inuit games

Kneel Jump

Junior female

1st – Anna Rivard

2nd – Corey Baxter

3rd – Foreste Martin

Junior male

1st – Tyler Wynnyk

2nd – Jordan Howse

3rd – Dustin Wilkinson

Open male

1st – Myles Nakoyak

2nd – Devon Armstrong

Two-foot high kick

Junior female

1st – Anna Rivard

2nd – Corey Baxter

3rd – Kelcie Henney

Junior male

1st – Tyler Wynnyk

2nd – Jordan Howse

Open male

1st – Myles Nakoyak

Triple jump

Junior female

1st – Anna Rivard

2nd – Corey Baxter

3rd – Foreste Martin

Junior male

1st – Tyler Wynnyk

2nd – Dustin Wilkinson

Open male

1st – Myles Nakoyak

2nd – Devon Armstrong

Alaskan high kick

Junior female

1st – Anna Rivard

2nd – Corey Baxter

Junior male

1st – Tyler Wynnyk

2nd – Jordan Howes

Arm pull

Junior female

1st – Anna Rivard

2nd – Foreste Martin

3rd – Corey Baxter

Junior male

1st – Jordan Howse

2nd – Tyler Wynnyk

3rd – Dustin Wilkinson

Head pull

Open male

1st – Devon Armsrong

2nd – Myles Nakoyak

One foot high kick

Junior female

1st – Anna Rivard

2nd – Corey Baxter

3rd – Foreste Martin

Junior male

1st – Tyler Wynnyk

2nd – Jordan Howse

Open male

1st – Myles Nakoyak

Knuckle hop

Open male

1st – Devon Armstrong

2nd – Myles Nakoyak

All around athlete

Junior female

1st – Anna Rivard

2nd – Corey Baxter

3rd – Foreste martin

Junior male

1st – Tyler Wynnyk

2nd – Jordan Howse

3rd – Dustin Wilkinson

Open male

1st – Myles Nakoyak

2nd – Devon Armstrong

Dene games

Stick pull

Juvenile female

1st – Jasmine Bill

2nd – Talisha Germaine

3rd – Teah Dickson

Open female

1st – Kecia Kassi

2nd -Gail Anderson

3rd – Elisha Sembsmoen

Open male

1st – Mike Evans

2nd – Doronn Fox

3rd – Donald Tutin

Finger pull

Juvenile female

1st – Teah Dickson

2nd – Dallyce Smith

3rd – Jasmine Bill

Open female

1st – Shaylea Sembsmoen

2nd – Miranda Charlie

3rd – Gail Anderson

Open male

1st – Mike Evans

2nd – Donald Tutin

3rd – John Acklack

Snow snake

Juvenile female

1st – Dallyce Smith

2nd – Shelby Smarch

3rd – Trisha Boutilier

Open female

1st – Elisha Sembsmoen

2nd – Gail Anderson

3rd – Starr Drynock

Open male

1st – Doronn Fox

2nd – John Acklack

3rd – Mike Evans

Best all around

Juvenile female

1st – Dallyce Smith

2nd – Teah Dickson

3rd – Shelby Smarch

Open female

1st – Gail Gail Anderson

2nd – Elisha Sembsmoen

3rd – Starr Drynock

Open male

1st – Mike Evans

2nd – Dorron Fox

3rd – John Acklack

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.co

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