Team Nunavut announces 279-member roster for Arctic Winter Games
This year’s AWG set for Fairbanks, Alaska March 15-22
Team Nunavut announced March 12 its official roster of athletes, coaches, performers and support staff headed to the 2014 Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Drawn from communities throughout Nunavut, the 279-member contingent will assemble in Fairbanks March 15, when venues get set for a week of games and cultural events.
“Our athletes have dedicated countless hours toward practising their sport for an opportunity to participate at a high-level competition like the AWGs,” Tom Sammurtok, Nunavut’s minister responsible for sports and recreation, said March 12.
Team Nunavut’s athletes will compete in 20 sports, including speed skating, hockey, figure skating, dog mushing, curling, and Arctic sports, as well as indoor competitions suited to any season such as badminton, basketball, soccer, table tennis, volleyball, and wrestling.
They will face teams and individual competitors from around the circumpolar world.
Also participating this year are some 2,000 youth athletes from the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavik, Northern Alberta, Greenland, Alaska, the Sapmi region of northern Scandinavia and Team Yamal from northern Russia.
The competition opens March 16, starting with curling, indoor soccer and volleyball. All participants will take part in opening ceremonies that evening at the Carlson Center, the AWG’s main venue in Fairbanks.
Judy Mariq of Baker Lake will serve as Nunavut’s flag bearer for the opening ceremony.
Mariq, a member of the women’s hockey team, led her team to a gold medal at Nunavut’s first women’s hockey tournament.
Deon Kuglugiak of Chesterfield Inlet will serve as Team Nunavut’s sign bearer. He will compete in the Arctic Sports event, which includes traditional northern competitions such as the high-kick and arm-pull. One of the team’s youngest athletes, Kuglugiak put in a strong showing at Nunavut’s recent territorial competitions.
The Games’ cultural activities will feature performances and exhibitions from the circumpolar world’s northern indigenous cultures. The Inuksuk Drum Dancers of Iqaluit will perform for Nunavut.
The group will perform with artists from other participating Arctic regions at the opening and closing ceremonies, at a cultural gala, and other venues in Fairbanks.
AWG organizers will also encourage impromptu cross-cultural jam-sessions throughout the week.
A mission staff of 14 will help Nunavut’s athletes and performers throughout the games.
“None of this would be possible without the help of our volunteers whose tireless support makes it possible for Team Nunavut to participate in the AWGs,” Sammortuk said.