Team Yukon medalist Jayden Demchuk competes in javelin at the 2017 North American Indigenous Games in Toronto last week. Yukon athletes won 24 medals at the Games. (Steve Parr/2017 NAIG)

Yukon wins 24 medals at North American Indigenous Games

Territorial swimmers bag 18 medals in Toronto

The 2017 North American Indigenous Games went swimmingly for Team Yukon.

The team collected 24 medals — 18 in swimming — at the Games July 16-23 in Toronto.

With the two-dozen medals Yukon placed 11th in the medal count out of 22 contingents at the triennial Games.

“Oh my gosh, the meet was absolutely fantastic,” said Yukon swimmer Rennes Lindsay. “We had a really great coach, a really good team — the team was so much fun. We had two new swimmers, Helene and Camron Maguire, so that was their first swim meet because they are synchronized swimmers. We had lots of fun, really got to know them. I got to know everyone in our group much better too.

“The competition wasn’t sanctioned, so your times didn’t really count, so it kind of put you at ease a little bit. But it was also really fun. You had a roommate and you all ate together and it was a really good team experience.”

Lindsay, 14, won five medals in individual races in the under-16 female division. She sped to gold in the 200-metre freestyle, gold in the 400-metre freestyle, silver in the 100-metre butterfly, bronze in the 100-metre breaststroke and the 100-metre freestyle.

In the 200 free final she beat Alberta’s Venna Anderson by just 0.14 seconds.

“I had to plan that race out well because I was racing a fast competitor,” said Lindsay. “I always have a burst of energy at the end of all my races…. I knew if I stayed right with her we’d do a very entertaining finish.”

Older sister Cassis Lindsay, in under-19 female, won gold in the 100 backstroke, silver in the 50 backstroke, silver in the 50 butterfly, bronze in the 100 butterfly, bronze in the 100 freestyle and bronze in the 50 freestyle.

Teammate Kassua Dreyer, swimming in under-14 female, claimed gold in the 800 freestyle, silver in the 200 breaststroke, silver in the 400 freestyle, bronze in the 100 breaststroke and bronze in the 50 breaststroke.

Brooklyn Massie won bronze in the 200 individual medley in under-16 female.

The four medalists, who are members of the Whitehorse Glacier Bears Swim Club, also teamed up for silver in the under-19 female 4×50-metre freestyle relay (1:57.70).

Yukon’s first medal of the Games came in athletics on July 17. Whitehorse’s Naoise Dempsey won silver in the under-14 male two-kilometre cross-country race with a time of 8:24.39, just 0.25 seconds behind the gold medalist from the Eastern Door and the North team. He also took fourth in the 1,200-metre and 800-metre.

Yukon finished with two medals in athletics. Jayden Demchuk threw 26.75 metres for bronze in the under-19 female javelin. She also notched fourth in discuss and fifth in shot put.

Yukon’s Corey Roberts was on target last week. The 19-year-old won gold in rifle shooting in under-19 male prone. Teammate Nevada Joe was jut out of the medals in fourth place in the event.

Yukon’s Judy Russell pinned a bronze in wrestling, in the female 60-kilogram division.

Yukon also took a pair of medals in traditional indigenous sports.

Jesse Kates, 14, shot for silver in under-16 female instinctive 3D archery competition.

Jedrek Dendys and Alice Frost-Hanberg paddled to bronze in under-19 mixed canoe paddling in the 6,000-metre event. Frost-Hanberg won two medals in paddling at the 2014 Games as well.

Yukon’s basketball teams — under-16 boys and under-16 girls — went winless.

Yukon’s under-19 male soccer team also went winless, with a 3-0 loss to Nova Scotia their closest match.

The territory was represented by three volleyball teams in Toronto. Yukon’s under-16 male squad took a 2-0 win over Manitoba.

Yukon’s 24 medals is up from 11 medals at the 2014 Games in Regina, Sask., and just under half as many medals won for Yukon at the 2008 Games in Cowichan, B.C. (The 2011 Games, that were to be held in Milwaukee, were cancelled due to lack of sponsors.)

This year’s Yukon team consisted of about 140 athletes, almost 100 more than in 2014.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

This is a corrected story: Naoise Dempsey competed in the 1,200-metre track event.

North American Indigenous GamesTeam Yukon

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Yukon’s Teryn Kassi competes in U16 boys shot put. (Steve Parr/2017 NAIG)

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