Two North Island track athletes are competing in this year’s North American Indigenous Games.
After six months of training, PHSS students Kristen and Kayley Clair are headed to Toronto to compete in the international competition.
The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) is the largest continental sporting and cultural gathering of Indigenous people. “We are proud to represent our community in a cultural way,” said 15-year-old Kristen.
“There’s going to be people from a lot of places,” said her 14-year-old sister Kayley.
The 2017 NAIG will host over 5,000 athletes and coaches from all over North America. B.C. has 28 teams competing in 13 different sports, which includes 419 athletes and 105 coaching staff.
“The opening ceremonies are a big thing, it’s going to be pretty cool,” added Kayley.
Kristen is participating in the 100m, 200m, 800m and the triple jump, while her sister Kayley is participating in the 80m, 150m, and long jump.
“I like the rush of it, the adrenaline you get,” said Kayley, when asked about why she liked the sport.
“I like how it’s an individual sport, you have to start on your own and finish on your own,” added Kristen.
Kristen first participated in track when she was in grade six, and Kayley in grade five. However, the journey to compete in NAIG 2017 was not a simple process.
In order to be eligible, the girls had to fill out an application form, get two references, and because PHSS does not have a track team, they had to record and submit their own time trials with the help of their P.E. teacher Mike Cleary.
“Our high school P.E. teacher, Mr. Cleary, helped us after school,” said Kristen.
Kayley added that three days a week they “trained on the track or in the gym.”
Although Kristen noted the competition between her and her sister “definitely drives me”, Team B.C. will also be doing a 4 by 100m relay in which both girls will be participating on the same team.
The games take place July 16 – 23. The Clairs will be participating in the opening events on July 16 and competing on July 19.
The games will be live streamed on the internet.
The girls have many sponsors some of which include, Cape Scott Wind farm, Quatsino Band, and Quatsino Economic Development Board. They also recently returned from the BC Soccer Provincials where both of their teams were awarded the “Fair Play Team Award” given to the most sportsman like teams throughout the tournament.
There are also four other North Island athletes going to the NAIG. Seth Hanuse, Devin White, Trey Morash and Tony Zapp will be participating in soccer.