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Aloka Wijesooriya seeks internet voting support from Nunavut and abroad to help her win speed-skatin

Iqaluit speed skater goes for the video gold

By JOHN BIRD

Iqaluit high school student Aloka Wijesooriya wants to go viral.

Starting with her home community, she's seeking internet support worldwide to put Nunavut on the speed skating map.

Wijesooriya, who leads a whirlwind life as a student, a speed skater, an actor in this week's high-school-and-community production of the musical Fiddler on the Roof, and as a fiddler herself in jam sessions around town, has also found the time to produce a video on the Iqaluit Speed Skating Association.

Called Nunavut Heroes, the video is a day in the life of an Iqaluit speed skater. It includes clips of Wijesooriya, her sister Anisi, and other members of the association in speed skating action, as well as interviews with her coach, John Maurice.

"I also talk about how speed skating has brought my sister and I closer together," Wijesooriya said.

Now Nunavut Heroes has been selected by Canada's former speed skating star Catriona Le May Doan and other judges as one of the top 16 finalists in a search for Canada's best speed-skating story. And Wijesoorya needs the help of Nunavummiut to help it advance further.

She's asking people to log onto the website, www.ingspeedskatingchallenge.com, to view her video, and to vote for it as the top story about speed skating.

The goal of the contest is "to give young skaters in communities across Canada a voice – a way of telling the rest of the country why they love the sport," Doan said in a news release.

Wijesooriya also wants voters to ask their friends to vote for her too. It's like the old story from the movie Wayne's World: "if she tells two friends … and they tell two friends … and they tell two friends. .."

Every couple of weeks, if successful, Wijesooriya's video will advance to the next round of voting. But it will only be successful if Nunavut supporters rally round.

The first round of voting has already started, and runs until Feb. 22. The second round is Feb. 23 to March 1; the third round March 2 to 8; and the final round is Mar. 9-20.

So vote early, vote often, Wijesooriya said with a smile, adding that one email address can only vote once per round.

"And please tell your friends," she added.

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