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Native athlete Kayla Giroux wins basketball gold at North American Indigenous Video games

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A Fort McMurray athlete is a gold medal winner after Staff Alberta’s 16U Feminine Basketball crew took the highest spot on the 2023 North American Indigenous Video games (NAIG) in Halifax final month.

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Kayla Giroux, 15, mentioned she was stunned at how nicely Staff Alberta did in opposition to the opposite groups. She mentioned profitable gold was a tremendous expertise, however is gloomy the video games are over.

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“It was a really joyful second and the entire thing was an excellent expertise,” mentioned Giroux in an interview. “It wasn’t simply the basketball, both. Touring the town and cheering for different groups, it was all enjoyable. They’re my mates now.”

Staff Alberta went undefeated at NAIG. They began sturdy with a 74-24 victory over Staff Ontario in preliminaries. Their second pool match was a 94-12 victory over Japanese Door and the North. They beat Staff Manitoba 58-51 in quarterfinals and defeated Staff Minnesota 73-36 in semifinals. Staff Alberta received in opposition to Staff Wisconsin 54-42 within the gold medal sport. Staff British Columbia took dwelling bronze.

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Giroux averaged 5.0 factors per sport and her tournament-high rating was 12 factors in opposition to Easter Door and the North. Giroux mentioned she was impressed with the efficiency from Staff Manitoba, however discovered the opposite victories too simple.

The members of Staff Alberta are unfold out throughout the province. Giroux mentioned the crew practiced and skilled collectively, and had an intense coaching week in Calgary earlier than the video games. In addition they bonded shortly socially and as a crew.

Giroux goes into Grade 11 at Holy Trinity Excessive College. She has performed basketball since she was 10 and is a member of the Northern Trailblazers Basketball. She goals of enjoying basketball at a post-secondary degree. In school, she has competed in monitor and subject occasions comparable to shot put, focus on and 400-metre occasions. However basketball is a ardour.

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“It’s like an escape and it’s actually enjoyable,” she mentioned. “Say I’m bored or upset, I’ll simply go play basketball with my mates. It’s calming.”

About 5,000 athletes from greater than 750 Indigenous nations who competed in 16 sports activities at NAIG earlier this month. Staff Alberta completed fourth on the medal desk with 26 gold medals, 27 silver medals and 28 bronze medals. That is the biggest competitors Giroux has attended and her first worldwide athletic match.

Tayden Shott of the Fort McKay First Nation additionally received gold at NAIG. He competed within the 16U Male compound class for 3D Archery, defeating 21 different athletes from throughout Canada, New Mexico and Colorado.

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