The NWT speed skating and biathlon teams pulled in more medals at the Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse on Tuesday, bringing their total tally to 24 ulus.
Yellowknife speed skaters Simon Austin, Rachel Latour and Isaac Wideman all snagged gold in their respective 500 metre sprint events. Teammates Hannah Clark (of Yellowknife) won silver, and Fort Simpson’s Madison Pilling, Inuvik’s Cullen McLeod and Yellowknife’s Kristin Chapman finished in bronze position.
NWT’s medal total now stands at 36, with 11 gold, 10 silver and 15 bronze.
Hay River’s Angelina Magtibay took home a bronze medal in the 5 kilometre sprint junior female ski biathlon event.
“My race was good. I thought I performed pretty strong. My skiing was pretty good and my shooting was decent. I shot seven out of 10, so I was really happy with that,” Magtibay said.
After yesterday’s race delay due to cold weather, the balmy temperatures and quiet wind were a blessing, Magtibay said.
“I really appreciated this weather. My lungs weren’t hurting today, so it was good,” she said.
Having competed in previous Arctic Winter Games, Magtibay said this year’s biggest highlight is racing against a stronger girls category bolstered by international athletes.
“The most exciting thing is competing, and meeting other athletes in the field. I’ve raced against a couple of these girls for two years, so I recognize them but it’s nice to have a deeper field to race against,” Magtibay said.
Hay River’s Christopher Lirette also claimed a bronze medal in the very tight junior male 7.5 kilometre biathlon contest with Yamal’s Dmitrii Kuznetcov and Aleksei Kanev. The latter two tied with a time of 33:23, with Lirette on their heels at 34:45.
“It was really good. I was number one, the first skier out. I cleaned my first time in the range, so that’s pretty cool. Coming out of standing, I just skied as hard as I could to the finish line and I think it was a pretty strong race,” Lirette said.
With the mass start and the relay still to be contended, Lirette said he’s excited about his team’s chances to continue winning medals.
“Our relay team is looking pretty good for the relay. Our all-round speed is pretty fast, and we’ve been shooting well, so we should have a chance.
“We come out and train hard every practice. I’m not sure how the other teams practice, but it seems that we’ve been training the hardest,” he said.
As for tomorrow, however, Lirette is “just looking forward to the off day tomorrow, and getting some time for the body to rest.”
Elsewhere in competition, Fort Smith’s Veronica McDonald was awarded a second gold in the Arctic sports two-foot high kick event and Yellowknife’s Peter Taptoona won bronze.
On Sima Mountain, Fort Liard snowboarder Alinda Edda won a bronze medal in the juvenile girls banked slalom event and Aklavik’s A.J. Charlie claimed a silver medal in the 7.5 kilometre juvenile mixed dog mushing race.
Yellowknife’s Emma du Plessis was the best in the junior girls figure skating short track program.
“The ice was really fast and makes me feel really comfortable,” du Plessis said, who skated to the Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Du Plessis has been skating for four years, and this is her first Arctic Winter Games.
In Tuesday’s long program she’ll be skating to the Pirates of the Caribbean.
“When I was listening to the music, I found ones that I really liked and listened to them over and over again. I asked my coach if I could have them for my program and she said yes,” she said.
Inuvik’s Winter Ross won a bronze medal in the junior female short program, and coach Tira Kaip said it was a strong day for the whole figure skating team.
“We had clean programs from every skater, which was great,” Kaip said.
The Ladies 2 short program competition was won handily by Anastasiya Radchenko of Yamal, with Yellowknife skater Ashley Ramirez placing fifth.
“It’s good competition. We take our skaters down south to compete against others girls down south. The competition is good in the North, but it’s not as good as down south so it’s great to see skaters like the Yamal girls to see that kind of scores,” Kaip said.
In the cross-country ski sprints, Yellowknife’s Oliver Hodgins won a silver medal in the 750 metre junior male races and Fort McPherson’s Ruth Hanthorn won a bronze in the juvenile girls race.
Cross-country and snowshoeing both have rest days on Wednesday, but competition in the round-robin team tournaments continues for most sports with NWT teams still in the hunt in many sports.