Team Nunavut gears up to compete in Greenland
Nunavut will send 180 athletes and delegates to Nuuk for next week's Arctic Winter Games
If Team Nunavut has its way, you will see lots of red, yellow and blue on the Arctic Winter Games podium this March — but don’t adjust your monitor.
Politicians at Nunavut’s legislative assembly briefly traded the stump for the runway Feb. 29 to model official uniforms that Nunavut athletes will wear at next week’s 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland.
The occasion marked the final media event before Team Nunavut makes its way across Davis Strait to Greenland for the games, set to start March 6.
“Team Nunavut will be easy to spot in Nuuk, with the bright colours that symbolize our flag,” Community and Government Services Minister Joe Savikataaq said at the unveiling.
The team announced its final roster of 180 participants — including athletes and mission staff — who will represent 17 Nunavut communities at the games.
The athletes will compete in nine sporting events, including: Arctic sports, badminton, basketball, Dene games, hockey, Futsol (a variation of indoor soccer,) table tennis, volleyball and wrestling.
“We are extremely proud of our Team Nunavut participants and we wish them luck as they represent us on the world stage,” Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna said.
Leading the team in Nuuk will be Arviat’s Shelby Angalik, who has been selected as Team Nunavut’s flag bearer during the opening ceremonies.
Angalik is a rising star in women’s 50 kilogram wrestling. Despite her young age, she earned two silver ulus during the 2014 games in Fairbanks, Alaska, and has won three consecutive territorial championships.
Nunavut athletes will choose between two fashionable ensembles to wear during their time in Greenland.
Participants at the opening ceremonies will don a modern-style blue jacket highlighted by a yellow scarf and hat.
And athletes who reach the winners’ podium this year will wear a windbreaker featuring the colours of Nunavut’s flag.
A satellite Arctic Winter Games hockey tournament for bantam boys and junior females is set to start March 7 in Iqaluit.
The tournament marks the first time Nunavut has hosted an Arctic Winter Games event since 2002.
To that end, an elite group of youth ambassadors will wear a special third uniform. Their task is to greet visiting teams to teach them about the city and Nunavut’s culture,
“There’s nine of us all together,” said youth ambassador Robert Ikkidluak, who modelled his group’s green jacket at the uniform unveiling.
“We’ll be answering some questions that people from outside Nunavut don’t know. [Things like] our history and culture and what we do on special occasions.”
Tooma Laisa, representing the Iqaluit’s Inuksuk Drum Dancers at the media event, is part of a cultural contingent going to Greenland to showcase Nunavut’s culture.
“We’ve been waiting for it to happen for such a long time now. So its really exciting for it to be actually happening,” she said.
Half of the drum dancers will perform at cultural exchanges in Nuuk, while the other half will hit the stage at Iqaluit’s own cultural showcase March 9.
Those remaining drum dancers in Iqaluit will join Greenlandic and Nunavummiut artists for a jam at Nakasuk elementary school in Iqaluit March 9 in a special one-off concert organized by Arctic Winter Games cultural ambassador Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory and Alianait Arts Festival.
Team Nunavut athletes will begin travelling to Iqaluit this week. A shuttle service of Dash-8 airplanes will ferry the team to Greenland in segments.
The 2016 Arctic Winter Games takes place March 6 to March 11. Look for coverage from reporter Steve Ducharme in Nuuk.