Jada Wheeler, left, from the Carmacks Judo Club competes against Jesse Irving from the Northern Lights Judo Club during the second annual team judo competition held in Carmacks on Dec. 1. (Stephen Anderson-Lindsay/Yukon News)

Judo team competition returns to Carmacks

“The parents really love the format because they get to see their kids fight for more than one fight”

The Carmacks Judo Club hosted a team competition on Dec. 1 for the second year in a row, drawing more than 40 competitors from across the territory.

Bianca Ockedahl, sensei at the Carmacks Judo Club, said the tournament is a popular break from typical judo competition.

“It went really well. We had a really nice turnout,” said Ockedahl. “It’s really fun and the parents really love the format because they get to see their kids fight for more than one fight.”

The teams of four are made up of athletes in the same age bracket, with one athlete in each of four age ranges. Each team is also a mix of boys and girls.

While the majority of the teams were from Northern Lights Judo Club and Carmacks Judo Club — which also includes athletes from Faro — judoka from Hiroshikai Judo Club and Golden Horn Judo Club also joined in.

“The kids don’t necessarily fight in their normal weight class,” said Ockedahl. “They might be fighting in a different weight class just to fill a spot, so they’re fighting kids they’re not always fighting against.”

Judo is typically an individual sport, so the team format is a nice change for athletes, explained Ockedahl.

“It’s bringing the individual to a team, … so it’s super fun,” said Ockedahl. “They get to cheer and we have team names for them and there are lots of prizes awarded at the end for the participants.

There were teams at the under 10, under 12 and under 14 age levels, as well as a randori — free practice in English — for under 8 athletes, where they had an opportunity to demonstrate their skills on the mat.

In the under 10 division, the Eagles from Northern Lights Judo Club finished first while the Wolverines were second and the Carmacks-based Superheroes in Training were third.

In the under 12 division, the Foxes were first, followed by the Wolverines, the Eagles and Game of Throws.

The under 14 division saw the Eagles finish first, Sweep the Leg finish second, the Wolverines finish third and the Grand Slams finish fourth.

Artur Losinski was named the best athlete of the challenge. The Northern Lights Judo Club was awarded the Carmacks Challenge Trophy for the second year running.

Judo competitions take a bit of a break before the Northern Lights Judo Club hosts a tournament at the end of January and the Carmacks club is set to host the Yukon Championships on April 27.

Typically held in Whitehorse, this spring will be the first time Carmacks or any community will host the event.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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