Team Sask. angry over NAIG medal count
Team Sask. launched unsuccessful protest due to swimming event medals
The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) may be over, but Team Saskatchewan says their protest against the medal standings launched last week is still unresolved.
Team BC edged out Team Saskatchewan to win the games by just one medal with a total of 160. 75 of BC's medals were won in the swimming events.
Team Saskatchewan's protest centres on unsanctioned swimming events at the games and its effect on medal counts.
Earlier this year, swimming events were cancelled by the host committee when they didn't have a location or enough officials to run the competitions.
The swimming event was then unsanctioned meaning that while medals could be awarded to participants, they could not count toward any team's medal totals.
Team Sask. pulls athletes
For that reason, Team Saskatchewan dropped all of its athletes from swimming and reassigned them to other competitions where medals did count, said Eugene Arcand, spokesperson for the team.
"We had no athletes in a sport that we usually were equal to or dominated in in years past, so it does skew the final standings," said Arcand.
Team Saskatchewan claims swimming medals were awarded to teams—including BC—that participated and their standings in the medal count were affected.
Team Sask. lodges protest
Team Saskatchewan lodged their protest on Wednesday and it was tabled with NAIG's council Thursday. Arcand says the issue is still unresolved.
"We are very disturbed about it and they have avoided dealing with the issue," said Arcand.
CBC Saskatchewan spoke to Dave Canadian, chair of NAIG's council, on Sunday after the games wrapped and he said the issue over Team Saskatchewan's protest had been resolved.
NAIG rules say there must be a minimum of three athletes for every competition, but Team Saskatchewan says that often was not the case.
According to Team Saskatchewan's spokesperson, there were 30 discrepancies in swimming events including the number of participants in races.
When the swimming events were cancelled and then later brought back as unsanctioned events, the host committee invited BC officials to run the event so athletes could still participate.
Team Saskatchewan claims the BC officials' results and record keeping were inaccurate and resulted in the discrepancies.
Committee reviews discrepancies
After Team Saskatchewan lodged their protest Thursday, a technical committee was set up that included members from across North America to review the discrepancies.
However, Canadian says that was also dealt with. "We created a committee of four people and they over looked all of the results.. and everybody agreed that they accepted the report that if there was less than three athletes, the athletes would receive their medals but no points would be scored," said Canadian.
Team Saskatchewan says the point of the games is to win, and that their protest is warranted.
"People are saying it's sour grapes. It's not sour grapes. We launched this protest on Wednesday and we are launching it whether we won or (lost)," said Arcand.