Avalak dedicated his fight to his late brother, Joanasie, whose birthday was five days ago. "I know you're watching over me and I love you brother," he said.
Cambridge Bay wrestler Eekeeluak Avalak circled the mat flying his Nunavut flag after becoming the first Nunavut athlete ever to win a medal — a gold — at the Canada Summer Games.
"I'm just so happy," he told reporters in a scrum immediately after the win.
Avalak dedicated his fight to his late brother, Joanasie, whose birthday was five days ago.
"I know you're watching over me and I love you brother," he said.
Avalak, 18, was widely expected to win a medal during the Games underway in Niagara Falls. He won his semifinal match Thursday morning by pinfall.
He went up against Alberta's Fred Calingay Thursday afternoon, ending the match on points, 10-1.
Avalak is now the second Nunavut athlete to win a medal at the Canada Games. The first was Eugene Dedrick, who won bronze in judo at the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse in 2007.
After winning his match, Avalak ran over to hug his coach, Chris Crooks, who brought 40 years of wrestling experience to the western Nunavut community of about 1,700 when he moved there in 2015.
Avalak said he couldn't have won without Crooks and his teammates.
Hear an interview with Eekeeluak Avalak on the Tribe Drive with Rellik today at 5:25 PM.
coach Chris Crooks and Eekeeluak Avalak (Photo: Thorsten Gohl / Canada Games ex. Niagara)