The 2014 North American Indigenous Games are underway in Regina and an athlete from the Sudbury area has had a golden start.

Dawson Nootchtai, who is from Atikmeksheng Anishnawbek, just outside of Sudbury, has won three gold medals — all in kayaking.

“[Dawson] trains quite hard for his kayaking,” Terry Nootchtai, his father said. “He actually trains five days a week with the Sudbury canoe club.”

Dawson Nootchtai earned medals in all of his events in kayaking, including the 3,000 metre, the 200 metre and the 1,000 metre. All the categories were for men under the age of 16. Nootchtai is 14.

“I thought he’d do OK, but I didn’t think he’d do this well,” his father said. “He knows that all of his hard work paid off and he’s just enjoying his free time now.”

Other athletes from the area are participating as well, including Emma Petahtegoose of Atikmeksheng Anishnawbek, who is playing with the Ontario softball team.