More than 40 competitors whittled down to two at the end, with Qaritaq Kusugak-Clark and Amelia Ipkonerk being named Rankin Inlet’s first strongest man and strongest woman, respectfully.
The event was hosted by Ilitaqsiniq at the Agnico Eagle Arena Wednesday, July 19. Participants competed in an initial elimination round followed by several contests of strength, agility and endurance. Scores were tallied after each event, with the overall winners determined by points.
Ipkonerk was happy, sweating and glad she got a good workout in after winning the competition on the women’s side.
“It was a really tight race between the three of us,” said Ipkonerk, referencing second-place finisher Lynette Didur and third-place competitor Gloria Kaludjak.
She said she came in to the event expecting top five but not first place. What worked for her was cutting out the crowd in her mind.
“Just focusing on me and trying to hustle, keep my head down and just go for it,” she said.
On the men’s side, Kusugak-Clark bested his father, Pujjuut Kusugak, and third-place finisher Panniuq Karetak.
“Honestly pretty tired,” he said when asked how he was doing after the event. “But pretty happy as well.”
He said he knew he had a good chance at winning the competition but knew people from Nunavut are very strong and could give him a run for his money.
“It was very difficult honestly,” he said about the competition. “I was quite shocked.”
He said it was a good challenge and a “real eye-opener” for him and other participants.
Kusugak-Clark credited his consistency in the gym for helping him win.
“I’m usually there Monday to Friday, maybe even Saturdays, training for hockey season,” he said, adding that his father pushed him, and that he now could tease him about coming second to his son.
Asked if he had anything to add, Kusugak-Clark said, “I’d just encourage Inuit and people of Nunavut to keep pushing yourself, go to the gym, enjoy your fitness, push for a better, healthy lifestyle and keep going.”
Prize money included $1,250 for first place, $750 for second and $500 for third, plus a slew of door prizes and awards from winning individual events. Ilitaqsiniq hopes to make the event an annual competition.
40 ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᓵᓚᖃᕋᓱᖃᑎᒌᒃᑐᑦ ᐊᒥᐊᑯᖃᖅᐳᑦ ᑭᖑᓕᕈᔪᐊᓂᒃ, ᖃᕆᑕᖅ ᑯᓱᒐᖅ-ᑲᓚᐅᒃ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᒥᓕᐊ ᐃᑉᐸᕐᓇᒃ, ᐊᑎᖅᑕᐅᓪᓗᑎᒡᓗ ᓴᙱᓂᖅᐹᕐᒥᒃ ᐊᖑᑎᓄᑦ ᐊᕐᓇᓄᓪᓗ ᑲᖏᖅᖠᓂᕐᓂ.
ᓵᓚᖃᕋᓱᖃᑎᒌᒃᑐᑦ ᐃᓕᑕᖅᓯᓂᖅᑯᑦ ᑲᒪᒋᓚᐅᖕᐊᔾᔪᒃ, ᐊᓐᔩᑯ ᐄᑯ ᓯᐊᕆᔮᕐᕕᖓᓂᒃ ᐱᖓᔪᐊᑦ, ᔪᓚᐃ 19. ᓵᓚᖃᕋᓱᒃᑐᑦ ᐲᔭᖅᑕᐅᕙᓪᓕᐊᒐᒥᒃ ᓴᖏᓂᖏᓐᓄᑦ, ᐱᒃᑲᐅᓂᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᐊᒃᓱᕈᒃᑲᐅᓂᖏᓐᓄᓪᓗ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᒋᓪᓗᒍ. ᓇᐃᓴᐅᑦ ᓇᐃᓴᖅᑕᐅᓪᓗᑎᒃ ᐊᑐᕇᖅᑕᒥᓄᒃ, ᓵᓚᒃᓴᕈᑕᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᖁᑦᑎᓛᕐᒥᒃ ᓇᐃᓴᐅᑎᓖᒃ.
ᐃᑉᐸᕐᓇᒃ ᖁᕕᐊᓱᓚᐅᖅᐳᖅ, ᐅᖅᖂᓪᓗᓂᓗ ᐊᓕᐊᓇᐃᒋᓪᓗᓂᐅᒡᓗ ᑎᒥᓂ ᐊᒃᓱᕈᓚᐅᕋᒥ ᐊᕐᓇᑦ ᓴᓚᖃᕋᓱᖃᑦᑕᐅᑎᑎᓪᓗᒋᒃ.
‘ᐱᖓᓱᑎᒍᑦ ᖃᓂᒌᒃᑐᑯᓗᖕᒥᑦ ᓵᓚᒃᓴᓕᒑᓚᐅᖅᐳᒍᑦ,’ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ ᐃᑉᑲᕐᓇᒃ, ᑕᐃᓪᓗᓂᒋᑦ ᓵᓚᒃᓴᖃᑕᐅᔪᑦ ᑭᖑᓪᓕᖅ ᓵᓚᒃᓴᖅᑐᖅ ᓕᓂᓐ ᑏᑐᕐ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐱᖓᔪᒋᔭᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᑯᓗᕆᔭ ᖃᓗᔾᔭᖅ.
ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ ᓇᖕᒥᓂᖅ ᑕᑯᙳᐊᓚᐅᕋᒥ ᑕᓪᓕᒪᒋᔭᐅᓪᓗᓂ, ᓯᕗᓪᓕᐅᖏᑦᑐᖅ. ᐊᔪᕐᓇᕈᑎᒋᓚᐅᖏᑕᖓ ᐃᓱᒪᒋᙱᖢᓂᒋᑦ ᖁᖏᐊᖅᑐᑦ.
‘ᐅᕙᓐᓂᑐᐊᖅ ᐃᓱᒪᒋᓪᓗᖓ, ᐱᓇᔪᐃᓐᓇᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅᖢᖓ, ᓂᐊᖁᒐ ᐅᑯᖓᓗᒍᓗ ᐱᑐᐃᓐᓇᕐᓗᖓ,’ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ.
ᐊᖑᑎᓄᑦ ᓵᓚᖃᖅᑐᑦ , ᑯᓱᒐᖅ-ᑲᓚᐅᒃ ᐊᑕᒥᓄᑦ ᓯᕗᓪᓕᐅᓪᓗᓂ, ᐳᔾᔫᑦ ᑯᓱᒐᖅ, ᐱᖓᔪᒋᔭᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᐸᓐᓂᐅᖅ ᖃᕆᑕᖅ.
‘ᑕᖃᒻᒪᕆᒃᐳᖓ,’ ᐊᐱᕆᔭᐅᒐᒥ ᐱᐊᓂᒃᓯᓵᖅᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᓵᓚᖃᕋᓱᒃᑐᑦ. ‘ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᖁᕕᐊᓱᒃᑭᓪᓗᖓ,’
ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᓚᐅᕋᒥ ᓴᓚᖃᕈᓐᓇᕐᓂᕐᒥᓂᒃ ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᒋᓪᓗᓂ ᓄᓇᕗᒻᒥᐅᑦ ᓴᖏᓂᖏᓐᓂ, ᐆᒃᑐᕈᒪᓕᓚᐅᖅᐳᖅ ᑮᓇᐅᔭᒧᑦ.
‘ᐊᔪᕐᓇᖅᑐᒻᒪᕆᐊᓘᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ,’ ᓵᓚᖃᕋᓱᖃᑎᖃᖅᖢᓂ ‘ᖁᒃᓴᓪᓚᓚᐅᖅᑐᖓ’.
ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ ᐊᒃᓱᕈᖃᑎᒌᖕᓂᖅ ᐊᓕᐊᓇᐃᒋᓚᐅᖅᐸᖓ, ‘ᐅᔾᔨᕈᓱᓕᖅᐹᓕᖅᐳᖓ’ ᐃᖕᒥᓄᑦ, ᐊᓯᒥᓄᒡᓗ. ᑯᓱᒐᖅ ᑲᓚᐅᒃ ᐃᖃᐃᓕᓴᕐᕕᓕᐊᖃᑦᑕᕐᓂᓂ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᒋᓪᓗᓂᐅᒃ ᓵᓚᒃᓴᕈᑎᒋᕙᖓ.
‘ᐃᖃᐃᓕᓴᖅᐸᒃᐳᖓ ᓇᒡᒐᔾᔭᒥᑦ, ᐅᓪᓗᑐᐃᓐᓇᕐᒧᑦ, ᓯᕙᑖᕐᕕᒃᑯᓪᓘᓐᓂᑦ ᐃᓚᓐᓂᒃᑯᑦ, ᐱᔭᕆᔭᒃᓴᖅᐸᒌᖅᖢᓂ Hᐊᑭᕐᓇᐅᓂᐊᖅᑐᒧᑦ,’ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ, ᐊᑖᑕᖓᑕ ᐱᒋᐊᖁᓚᐅᕐᒪᔾᔪᒃ , ᓴᓚᒋᓪᓗᓂᐅᓪᓕ, ᑕᐸᓱᒍᓐᓇᖅᓯᕙᕋ ᐅᕙᓐᓂᒃ ᑭᖑᓪᓕᐅᓂᖓᓂᒃ.
ᐊᐱᕆᔭᐅᒐᒥ ᐃᓚᓯᔪᒪᖕᒪᖔ ᐅᖃᕈᒪᔭᕐᒥᓂᒃ, ᑯᓱᒐᖅ-?ᓚᐅᒃ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ ‘ᐱᖁᔨᒐᓗᐊᖅᐳᖓ ᐃᓄᖕᓂᑦ ᓄᓇᕗᒻᒥᐅᓂᒡᓗ ᐃᖃᐃᓕᓴᖃᑦᑕᖁᓪᓗᒋᑦ, ᐱᒋᐊᖅᐸᒡᓗᑎᑦ ᐊᑲᐅᔪᒧᑦ, ᐃᓅᓯᖃᕋᓱᑦᑎᐊᕐᓂᖅ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑕᐅᕗᖓᒃᑲᓐᓂᖅ ᐃᓅᓰᑦ.’
ᑮᓇᐅᔭᖅ ᓵᓚᒃᓴᖅᑕᐅᔪᖅ $1,250 ᓯᕗᓕᖅ, $750 ᑭᖑᓪᓕᕐᒧᑦ, $500 ᐱᖓᔪᒋᔭᐅᔪᒧᑦ, ᓵᓚᒃᓴᒐᒃᓴᖃᖅᖢᓂᓗ ᐃᓯᖅᑐᓄᑦ.ᐃᓕᑕᖅᓯᓂᖅ ᐊᕋᒍᑕᒪᑦ ᐊᑐᖃᑦᕼᕈᒪᒐᓗᐊᖅᐸᖓ ᓴᓚᖃᕋᓱᖃᑎᒌᖕᓂᖅᐅᔪᖅ ᐊᕋᒍᑕᒪᕐᒧᑦ.