David Thomas of Alaska attempting a kick of 8'10".
Photo By Charles Pulliam
During most Arctic games, the One-Foot High Kick takes the spotlight and it was no different on the Kenai Peninsula this week.
More than 300 spectators packed the stands at Kenai Central High School Thursday to watch the open Male and Female One-Foot High Kick competitions during the Inuit Games.
In the One-Foot High Kick, an athlete has three attempts to kick a small ball. The athlete must jump off of two feet, though kick the ball with only one foot, land on the same foot that kicked the ball, and hold the landing for it to be a successful attempt.
“Usually you can just look at the ball and feel whether or not your going to hit it,” Open Female competitor Suzie Pearce said. “One of my last kicks [6-8] I just felt I was going to hit it.”
“I had a lot of fun this year and really enjoyed the games,” Pearce said. She is from Iqaluit, Nunavut, and is participating in her seventh Arctic Winter Games.
Alberta North’s Jennifer Bell won the Gold Ulu in the Open Female event with a kick of 6-10. Pearce missed all three of her attempts at 6-10 and settled for the Silver Ulu.
In the Open Male Competition, a tie resulted in a kick-off for first place. Both David Thomas of Alaska and Sean Nipisar of Nunavut missed all three kick attempts at nine feet.
In the kick-off, Thomas had a successful first attempt at 8-11, while Nipisar missed, giving the Gold Ulu to Thomas and the silver to Nipisar.
“We tried a different technique, but I’m proud of them,” Nunavut’s coach Allen Anavilok said. “They had good games and had fun, and that’s what the games are really abouthaving fun.”
Aisa Pirti, Nunavik-Quebec, leaped to the Bronze Ulu while Nunavut’s Thomas Johnston finished in fourth in Open Male competition, with a kick of 8-7. His attempts at 8-10 failed, but through a kick-off, he took fourth.
“I just gave up [in mid air] on my last attempt,” Johnston said of his final kick at 8-10. “I should have gotten it.”
Johnston is competing in his first Arctic Winter Games. “There was a lot of competition, but it was a lot of fun,” he said.
In the Junior competitions, Amy Elzibeth Miller of Alberta North edged Alaska’s Danielle Malchoff by kicking her first attempt at 6-10. Malchoff used all three of her attempts before sticking the landing on her third attempt for a successful kick. The result gave Miller the Gold Ulu and Malchoff the silver.
Nicole Elizabeth St. Martin of Alberta North beat out Deseray Cumberbatch of Nunavik-Quebec for bronze by connecting at 6-6 on her first attempt.
Nunavik-Quebec team members Alec Airo and Paul Beaulne took the gold and silver in the Junior Male competition. Airo notched first by kicking 8-6, while Beaulne settled for silver after a kick at 8-2.
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