Eekeeluak Avalak of Cambridge Bay already assured himself a place in Canada Summer Games history. He already had a medal in the bag — nothing worse than a silver.
But if you’ve made it that far, why not win it all?
And he did just that.
The 18-year-old wrestler became the first Nunavummiut to step onto the podium at the Canada Summer Games and did it by winning the gold medal in the men’s 52-kg weight class. He defeated Fred Calingay of Alberta by a score of 10-1 to claim arguably the biggest win of his burdgeoning career and cement his stature as a Nunavut sporting legend.
He got to the medal round after finishing atop the standings in his pool during the team duels portion of the competition on Tuesday and Wednesday. He won all five of his matches — three by technical superiority and two by forfeit as not every team had a wrestler at every weight class. That meant he would advance straight into the semifinal round and a shot at winning some colour of medal.
His first opponent was Zubin Gatta of Ontario, a match which Avalak won by technical superiority, 10-0. Gatta injured his arm during the match on a gut wrench hold by Avalak, which caused a short delay in proceedings to make sure Gatta was able to continue. Avalak then took full advantage of the situation and quickly finished things to move on to the gold medal match.
In the final, Avalak came out fast and scored the match’s first six points and added a seventh after Calingay walked out of the ring. Calingay got one back after Avalak executed a move after the whistle, but Avalak scored the final three points to walk away with the title and one of the biggest results in Nunavut’s sporting history.
More to follow.