Judoka pins Yukon’s first medal at westerns

Whitehorse’s Hannah King didn’t expect to be the first Yukon athlete to win hardware at the Western Canada Summer Games this week in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Whitehorse’s Hannah King didn’t expect to be the first Yukon athlete to win hardware at the Western Canada Summer Games this week in Fort McMurray, Alta.

But the 14-year-old did just that, capturing bronze in judo on Sunday for Yukon’s first medal at the quadrennial Games.

“That’s amazing! I didn’t expect that to happen,” said King. “I feel I did pretty good. I worked really hard for it.

“The second fight I felt I did a lot better because I didn’t have the same butterflies like I did in the first fight.”

King lost her two fights to place third out of three in the females 57-63 kilogram weight class. The bronze is the first medal won by Yukon in judo at a major Games since the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse.

“Hannah was pumped up, ready for her fights. She was eager, excited,” said Yukon judo coach Penny Prysnuk. “She went to Lethbridge just a couple weeks ago for a training camp, so she was ready to compete yesterday.

“She was holding her own, getting her grip, making some moves for some throws, so she was doing a good job.”

King was joined on Yukon’s judo team by Brandon Butler, Jacob Melanson and Shayne Melanson. The three male competitors went winless in the individual competition in their respective divisions, each placing fifth.

However, they each produced a win in Monday’s team competition. Butler picked up a win against Alberta, Jacob a win against Saskatchewan and Shayne – who produced a fifth-place finish at nationals in May for the best finish by a Yukoner in over a decade – got a win against Manitoba. Only B.C. shutout the Yukon team.

“They were quite excited,” said Prysnuk. “It was a nice way to finish today, for sure …

“This has been a great experience for everyone and this is the first time for three of them to be in a major Games. The whole team experience has been really awesome for everybody and they’ve treated us very well here in Fort McMurray.”

The judo competition wrapped up with the team competition on Monday. As the only female competitor for Yukon, King did not compete in the team event.

“It’s been amazing – this is by far my favourite experience with judo,” added King. “I like that it’s a multi-sport Games, so I don’t only get to see judo, I’ve gotten to see basketball, I’ve gotten to see wrestling, I’ve gotten to see gymnastics.”

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