Athlete wins seven medals at Indigenous Games

Celina Cada-Matasawagon, a Sheshegwaning First Nation member displays her medals.

TORONTO—A Sheshegwaning First Nation resident, now living in the Ottawa area, came home with seven medals at the first Indigenous Master Games.

“I was able to win seven medals at the Games (held in Toronto July 13-14),” Celina CaMatasawagon told the Recorder on Friday of last week. She was first in her female age group (45-54) in the 100 metre race, second in the 1,500 metre race, first in the 400 metres, third in the 800 metre race, second in the five kilometre race, second in the six kilometre race, and first in the tandem canoeing race.

Ms. Matasawagon explained, “this was a first of its kind event, with events in all types of sports, from archery, golf, basketball, volleyball and a whole lot more. Younger athletes could take part in the North American Indigenous Games but after 18 years of age there has been nothing that they could advance-qualify for beyond this. So organizers decided to hold a Masters Games.”

“This year the games were held in Toronto and in 2021 they will be in Ottawa,” said Ms. Cada-Matasawagon. She noted, “a gala event was held on Thursday evening for everyone involved in the games where gifts were presented to everyone.”

Ms. Cada-Matasawagon took part in five races on Friday and then the tandem canoe race on Saturday morning, as well as the six kilometre race.

“I didn’t even have time to train for the event,” said Ms. Cada-Matasawagon. “But because of my body building workouts and my cardio, it helped for the running events.”

“It was quite an event, and I’m really happy that I participated,” said Ms. Cada-Matasawagon. “I think that holding the first master games this year will open things up for many more athletes to take part in 2012 in Ottawa. They didn’t get a lot of athletes participating in these games, but I’m sure there will be more in 2021. It gives athletes something to work towards, and you don’t have to worry about competing against 18-year-old athletes.”

“And it is great to see more First Nation athletes taking care of themselves and in good shape to participate in the games,” continued Ms. Cada-Matasawagon. The games were all held in one place- Downsview Park, one for the games themselves and an area to relax and socialize. What I liked about having everything in one central area is that if I had two hours between races, I could go and watch volleyball or one of the other sports.”