Nunavut beach and indoor volleyball player Shawna Kyak (right) was named the Team Nunavut flag bearer for the Canada Summer Games closing ceremonies in Niagara on Sunday. Pictured, Kyak celebrates with teammate Talia Grant during a Week 1 game. (Photo by Denis Cahill, special for Nunatsiaq News)
The Iqaluit athlete played on the territory’s indoor and beach volleyball teams at the Canada Summer Games
Volleyball player Shawna Kyak was named Team Nunavut’s flag bearer for the closing ceremonies of the Canada Summer Games on Sunday night.
“It’s amazing…I’m so excited. I have no words,” Kyak, 21, told Nunatsiaq News just minutes after hearing the news.
“I’ve been representing Nunavut for about eight years. It’s my last year and it’s a great way to celebrate what I’ve achieved,” she said of the honor.
Kyak, from Iqaluit, was seen as a clear pick to be the flag bearer – she played dual roles at amateur sports competition in Ontario’s Niagara region, playing beach volleyball in Week 1 of the Games and subsequently as a member of the indoor volleyball team in Week 2.
This year marked the first time Nunavut had sent a team to compete in the Summer Games, making Kyak’s appearances at both venues a historic milestone.
Between the two sports, Kyak said she enjoys both but feels particularly attached to indoor volleyball as she has been playing with her teammates for years.
“I love the sport. It’s just amazing. I’m happy with the result we had. Our team works so hard with the beach team, and they know I’m so proud of them,” said Kyak, who is moving to Ottawa in September to study recreation and leisure services at Algonquin College.
“It was my first time playing beach volleyball, so I had to get used to it, but my heart is in indoor volleyball – I’ve been with these girls for so long. We are a family.
The women’s beach volleyball team finished their tournament in 12th place, while the women’s indoor volleyball team will know their final standings later on Sunday based on the results of matches involving other teams. .
The men’s beach volleyball team finished in 13th place and by mid-afternoon on Sunday, the men’s indoor team was also awaiting their final ranking.
Kyak hopes Nunavut’s volleyball debut at the games will inspire more people across the country to return to the sport.
“We made headlines back home and so many people congratulated me and other girls on my team and they’re so proud,” she said.
“I think it has had a good influence on the younger generation and I hope they will take the opportunity that we have taken. [to compete].”
Kyak takes over from Cambridge Bay wrestler Eekeeluak Avalak, who carried the Nunavut flag during the opening ceremonies. Avalak won the territory’s first-ever gold medal when he triumphed at the men’s wrestling tournament in the 52 kg division on August 11.
The Canada Summer Games Closing Ceremonies can be streamed live on the competition website beginning at 7 p.m. ET Sunday.