Among other things, judo is meant to be fun. But sometimes competition takes precedence.
“It’s a good way for the kids to end the year – they get that competitive aspect to it,” said Golden Horn Judo Club sensei Michael Bellon. “In class it’s more fun and goofing around. But here there’s only two people out on the mat at a time, so it becomes more serious and they really get that feeling. There’s more excitement and pressure.”
The judo season wrapped up on Saturday with the Yukon Open Judo Tournament hosted by Golden Horn Judo Club at Golden Horn School. The event featured 24 young competitors from all four of Yukon’s judo schools.
“It was well organized and the senseis were all good,” said orange belt Tim Schirmer. “The judging was awesome.
“I’ve been in judo for four years now, so I can’t wait to get my green belt.”
After years in the sport and multiple medals won, Schirmer, 11, finally captured his first gold, winning the under-55kg mixed division with three successful matches. In his final match for gold, Schirmer defeated bronze medalist Camila Gaw.
“It went well because she tried to do a throw on me and I resisted, but then she threw me back and I thought I should go on my knees so I don’t go on my back,” said Schirmer. “I turned and put a hold on her, and I got her down in 25 seconds.”
Other division winners included Aidon Johnson in under-45kg boys, Isaac Pumphrey in under-40kg mixed, Rene Koep in under-32kg boys, Wesley Vangel in the under-28 mixed and Erica Couch in the under-32 girls.
“My second match was the hardest,” said Couch, 11, speaking of her match against Georgia Gaw. “She knew a whole bunch of moves and she kind of stayed away from me. But then I got really close and tripped her.”
Just a month ago the yellow belt won gold at another tournament, defeating twice as many opponents, but Couch puts more value on the gold she won over the weekend.
“There was a lot of people more skilled than I fought against the first time,” said Couch.
“People should try their best and not get upset if they lose,” she added.
Gold: Wesley Vangel
Silver: Max Leas
Bronze: Hugo Burgess
Bronze: Cass Jensen
Gold: Erica Couch
Silver: Georgia Gaw
Bronze: Fionnuala Marion
Bronze: Dana Sellers
Gold: Rene Koep
Silver: Max Zaparinuk
Bronze: Oscar Burgess
Bronze: Thomas Brenner
Gold: Isaac Pumphrey
Silver: Curtis Perrier
Bronze: Lizzy Sparling
Bronze: Anthony Barteaux
Gold: Aidon Johnson
Silver: Andrew Couch
Bronze: Marek Henderson-Pekarik
Bronze: Jadon Leenders
Gold: Tim Schirmer
Silver: Andrew Jensen
Bronze: Camila Gaw
Bronze: Mark McKinnon
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