Midway through the week, Team Nunavut is finding mixed results on the badminton court. “I haven’t won any games yet, but I’m still having fun,” Carla Kaayak said after a hard-fought match against a strong Greenland opponents.
Kaayak’s coach, Amber Tagaliq, says even though some members of the team are struggling to find victory on the court, they’ve found success in many other ways at the Games.
“That’s the most important thing when it comes to the Games,” Tagaliq said. “When you make it this far, it’s all about using what we trained them (to do) and keeping the momentum going.”
Although Kaayak, a junior female competitor, hadn’t won her matches yet this week, it doesn’t mean she should be counted out. Last summer she was able to earn herself a bronze medal at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), proving that she can be a strong competitor at the AWG.
Across the gym at Princess Alexandra Elementary School, the Team Nunavut duo of Daryle Iqaluq and Mike Kavik were able to push Team Greenland to the brink before ultimately dropping the junior male match in the third set, showing that Team Nunavut is a contender at these Games.
“The kids are doing very well,” said coach Stephen Keoughan, “and if they win medals that’s great.”
While the team’s goals are to compete and have fun, Keoughan is hoping to surpass the badminton ulu count tallied in Greenland two years ago, which saw Nunavut bring home five in total, three bronze and two silver.
So far, it appears that Team Nunavut could be on track to do just that. Three athletes on the team have placed in the top three of their pools in singles play, heading into the playoffs later in the week. One of those athletes is Derrick Levi Akeeagok who currently sits atop his pool, undefeated with five wins and zero losses.