(Canoe races at the North American Indigenous Games in Welland, Ont. Photo Trina Roache/APTN)
APTN National News
Members of Team Manitoba stand at the end of a dock, cheering on the team’s youngest competitor in the canoe-kayak event.
12-year-old Kasey Young is on the last leg of the 3000-metre canoe race at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG).
“They’re having a lot of fun. Just look at them,” laughed Noretta Miswaggon, manager for Manitoba’s canoe-kayak team, as the young men and women whistle and holler behind her.
“They’re not even winning and they’re having fun! It’s a learning experience that’s for sure. A lot of these guys have never been out of the province, out of their reserves.”
Her son Alfred Miswaggon is gearing up for his event, the U19 3000 metre canoe race.
“I haven’t been out of Manitoba ever,” said Miswaggon. “This is my first time and this is a really good experience for me. It’s good being out here, meeting new people. Trading pins everywhere. It’s fun to talk to new people, exploring.”
While Miswaggon said it’s an adventure, he does have his eye on the medals. It didn’t happen for him today, but others are here to win.
(Brandyn Chappell. Photo: Trina Roache/APTN)
18-year-old Brandyn Chappell comes from Semiahmoo in British Columbia; the most western and southern reserve in Canada.
He spends his weekends racing war canoes. This is his second time competing at the games.
He won three gold and three bronze in 2014 and is hoping to better his performance at these games in Toronto.
“I know I’ve gotten faster,” said Chappell. “I know I’ve gotten stronger so I’m ready to push myself to and past my limits once again.”
Chappell said he has mixed feelings when he’s cutting across the water in a race.
“One is peace, because I have nothing to focus on except the next turn, I have nothing to focus on except the next stroke,” said Chappell. “But another thing that goes through my mind is stress, because if I mess up, if I make mistakes, it adds up…All I can do is my best.”
(Kyra McDonald of team NWT on the podium with her silver medal. Photo courtesy: Alison Wadell)
And for Team NWT, Kyra McDonald earned her a silver medal in the U14 3000 metre canoe on Tuesday.
“It felt really good, amazing,” said McDonald. “I’m so happy and proud of myself.”
This is the first time competing at NAIG for 13-year-old McDonald. She plays a lot of sports, but has found her niche on the water.
“I love how exciting it can be and all the races you can do,” said McDonald. “It’s just a lot of fun and a good way to get out there.”
The canoe and kayak races continue at the Welland International Flatwater centre until Thursday.