Judo Yukon is not grappling with low participation numbers. The organization has good turnouts pinned on the mat.
For the fourth year in a row Judo Yukon saw growth in participation at its annual Yukon Judo Championships.
A record 86 judokas, from a record eight clubs, took part in the championships at the Canada Games Centre on Saturday. That’s up from 67 judokas last year and 46 in 2012.
Also for the fourth year in a row the event was international with 16 Alaskans from Juneau and two clubs in Anchorage taking part.
RELATED:See full results here.
“We love to come to Whitehorse, get some international competition,” said Juneau’s Capital City Judo Club instructor Jay Watts. “We see some new faces we don’t get to see at our local tournaments, state tournaments.
“The judo community here is wonderful, they are good at what they do. They are some great instructors, they put on a great tournament, it’s excellent.”
“We like coming over because it’s a nice, new competition for us,” said Anchorage’s Mountain View instructor Dave Cheverie. “Our season is getting close to the end, but we still have our nationals to go, and we wanted to take our players over and get some new people to play with in preparation for our nationals in Hawaii. Most of them who are here are going to Hawaii.”
The championship is beginning to get a pan-northern feel with the addition of Nunavut Judo for the first time. Six judokas from Iqaluit attended the championship.
With Air North now offering flights from Yellowknife, N.W.T. is expected to attend next year’s championship. Air North’s flight from Ottawa is how Nunavut arrived.
“Air North put this awesome flight from Ottawa to Whitehorse, so now it wouldn’t take three days for them to get here,” said Peter Melanson, who moved to Whitehorse last summer from Nunavut and was coach for the Nunavut athletes over the weekend. “As soon as I heard about the flight I’ve been trying to get the kids out here and have some Arctic championships going.”
Four Yukon clubs also competed. Shiroumakai Judo Club, which operates out of Vanier Catholic Secondary, won the most hardware with three awards, 19 medals, including six gold.
Shiroumakai’s Rastus Maxfield and Emiko Teramura were stand-outs.
Both won gold in their division and took in best technique awards.
Maxfield won gold in the U14 boys under-38 kilogram division. The yellow belt defeated orange belt Kenneth Nevelle of Juneau for the win.
“I thought the guy I fought right now would throw again and get another ippon but I didn’t go down,” said Maxfield. “We kind of fell on top of each other and I got him in a hold down.”
Despite an elbow injury early on, Teramura snagged gold in the U14 girls under-48 kilogram division.
“I’m happy. This is my second time winning gold at this tournament,” said Teramura, holding an ice pack to her arm.
Athletes with Judo Yukon will reciprocate the Alaskans’ visit with a trip to the Alaska State Judo Championships later this month in Anchorage.
“The Yukon guys over here did a great job, it was very hospitable and it’s always a great tournament,” said Cheverie.
“It’s a great tournament and we’ll keep coming as long as we have a club,” said Watts.
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