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Vying for the AWG

Baker Lake, Chesterfield Inlet and Naujaat had 16 participants among the 39 athletes from nine Nunavut communities which took part in the Arctic sports territorial trials in Coral Harbour Aug. 18-20 . The trials were the beginning of team building for the 2018 Arctic Winter Games (AWG).

Anna Grace Aaluk of Gjoa Haven concentrates of her target during the Arctic sports territorial trials for the 2018 Arctic Winter Games in Coral Harbour Aug. 18-20. photo courtesy of Michelle Angottitauruq

The trials were dear to the heart of outgoing Coral Harbour recreation co-ordinator Heather Kolit-Carter, who was a multi-medal-winning athlete in Arctic sports during her days as an AWG participant.

Kolit-Carter was Coral's rec co-ordinator for more than a year in 2002-2003, and completed 10 months in the same position this past week. She left Coral on Friday, Aug. 25, for a job in Rankin Inlet with the Government of Nunavut.

She said she was very happy to learn Coral Harbour got accepted to host the 2017 AWG trials for Arctic sports.

Counting athletes, coaches and officials, we had more than 40 people come to Coral for the event,” said Kolit-Carter.

It took us more than three months to prepare everything for the event, so it really was a lot of work.

Booking all the travel and hotel stays for the visiting athletes, coaches and officials is really time consuming, in addition to getting everything ready in the community for a territorial event.”

Kolit-Carter said the territorial went well, but she was a little surprised only three Kivalliq communities had athletes at the event.

She said not having any local athletes compete for a spot on Nunavut's AWG team was disappointing.

I don't know if interest is totally dying in the event or people had trouble coming-up with the $175 registration fee, but I was really surprised that no one from Rankin Inlet or Whale Cove registered for the event.

Those two communities had originally expressed their intent to participate, but then none of the athletes registered for whatever reason.

Then, unfortunately, we had a further five or six athletes from Chesterfield Inlet not be able to make it in due to weather or airline issues, as well as another very good athlete from Arviat.”

Kolit-Carter retired from Arctic sports in 2006.

She said interest in Arctic sports seems to have disappeared in Coral Harbour during the past decade, and she's not sure what might spark that interest once again.

I really tried to drum-up interest with Coral hosting the event, but it just wasn't there.

The $175 registration fee probably did affect a few people, but, when you look at other sports, that fee is actually pretty fair.

We did have some good crowds out, but interest in the event would have been a lot higher if we had of had some athletes from Coral participating.

The Arctic sports team that was selected is pretty talented, but, the way I always looked at it, while it's nice to win medals, the AWG are really more about enjoying the cultural experience, meeting lots of new people, and learning from other provinces, territories and countries.”