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Canadian record tied at trials
Chris Church jumps over competition in one-foot high kick

Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, January 30, 2014

INUVIK
Inuvik student Chris Church put on a spectacular performance Jan. 24 at the Arctic Winter Games trials.

nnsl photo

Colin Alooloo of Yellowknife laughs as he contemplates how best to reach the sealskin ball dangling over his head at the Arctic Winter Games trials held at East Three Secondary School. - Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo

Church, a Grade 11 student at East Three Secondary School, tied a Canadian record in the one-foot high kick competition at the trials, literally jumping over his competition.

Church hit the nine-foot, two-inch mark before calling it a day with a leg injury that became increasingly obvious over his last five or six jumps.

That's four inches off the international record, said Gerry Kisoun, one of the organizers of the trials.

The mark, Kisoun said, equals the Canadian record, and is an amazing tribute to Church's athletic prowess.

He first began seriously practising the various Northern Games sports a year or so ago, and it looks like the sky is literally the limit for the multi-sport athlete, who also excels in basketball.

Church collapsed after the record-tying jump, but returned to his feet within a few seconds to limp off the floor. He said he wasn't disappointed he couldn't continue, and was more than satisfied with tying the record.

"No, I'm not disappointed," he said. "I'll get there someday."

Stopping to watch

The other trials ground to a halt as the athletes assembled to watch Church's final attempts at the record. Explosive cheers broke out as he finished.

"He's going to do well internationally at the games," predicted Jackie Jacobson, the MLA from Tuktoyaktuk who is also the Speaker of the NWT legislature. He was on hand watching his daughter perform.

Other Inuvik athletes, including James Day Jr., Matthew Skinner and Jimmy Kalinek, also did well at the trials.

Like Church, Skinner is a relative newcomer to the sports.

"It's going great, I'm having fun and meeting a lot of people," Skinner said. "I'm doing my best, which is all that I can do. I've only ever done them (these sports) once before, so this is my first time trying out for them and doing certain sports, as well. I've got a lot to learn and I've got some practising to do. This isn't so easy."

Day said he was pleased with his performance, as well. He's one of Inuvik's best all-around athletes when it comes to the Northern Games, and he's been a tireless promoter for the region.

"I've had been coming close to my personal bests," Day said. "I just kicked a six-foot-eight in the Alaskan high kick, which is a personal best. I felt I could do higher, but I was just a little higher."

The kicking games and the kneel jump are his favourites.

Four athletes were going to receive an invitation to the AWG, with one alternate selected as well, Day said. He said he liked his chances with those odds.

"I want to go to meet other athletes who are just as interested in the Arctic Games as I am, and it'll be good just to connect with them because it's all our culture."

Other athletes, like Colin Alooloo of Yellowknife, were returning to the sport.

He said he had been busy rehabbing a long-term injury and had been helping to train other athletes.

That whetted his competitive instincts again, and he returned to training, eventually becoming "healthier than ever.

"Now I'm just trying to get back into it and get some practice," he said.

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