Indigenous Games ready to roll as athletes start arriving in Regina
Hundreds of athletes, coaches and spectators are converging on Regina for the 2014 North American Indigenous Games which begin on Sunday.
An estimated 4,500 participants, including athletes, coaches and support staff will be in the city for the week-long event.
2014 NAIG - Regina
Sunday July 20 / Mosaic Stadium
Saturday July 26 / Cultural Village, First Nations University
All provinces and territories are represented at the games, including a contingent of over 300 athletes from Eastern Door and the North. As well, several hundred athletes are expected from New York, Wisconsin, Colorado and at least five other U.S. states.
"It's been a couple years in planning and we're anxious to start," Norman Ettawaycappo, an operations consultant for the games, told CBC News Friday. "We have about 200 to 300 participants arriving today."
As is common with such events, organizers rely on volunteers to help out. Despite concerns that the number of volunteers signed up was low, two weeks ago, organizers said Friday that is no longer an issue.
"We're pretty close to our revised goal of 2,000 volunteers," Ron Crow, CEO of the 2014 games, said Friday. "We're something like about 1,800. So this last little push has really increased the numbers."
Crow added they had a feeling people from Regina and the area would come through.
"We always had confidence that this community is the volunteer capital of Canada," Crow said. "And we really appreciate those that are stepping up and helping us out."
There are 14 competitions taking place at a number of venues throughout the city and all sporting events are free to the public.
There is also a strong cultural component to the games, centred around the campus of First Nations University.
3D Archery July 22-24 Wascana Archers
Athletics July 23-25, Canada Games Athletic Complex (Douglas Park)
Badminton July 21-25, Regina Sportplex (Fieldhouse)
Baseball July 22- 25, Optimist Park
Basketball July 21- 24, University of Regina/ Miller High School
Canoe July 21- 24, Wascana Lake
Golf July 22-25, Tor Hill Golf Course
Kayak July 21-24, Wascana Lake
Lacrosse July 22-26, Al Ritchie Arena/ Doug Wickenheiser Arena
Rifle Shooting July 22-24, Regina Wildlife Federation
Soccer July 21-26, University of Regina/ Leibel Field (Douglas Park)
Softball July 22-26, Rambler Park/ Douglas Park
Swimming July 23-25, Moose Jaw Kinsmen Sportsplex*
Volleyball July 24-26, University of Regina/LeBoldus High School
Wrestling July 21- July 23, University Of Regina
* Swimming events are being held in Moose Jaw with support from a B.C. athletics group. Organizers of the 2014 NAIG were not able to get enough officials to oversee a formal swim meet so the Moose Jaw competition is an informal event.
With files from CBC's Tori Gillis