PRINCE GEORGE, B.C.
Of the 19 sports at the Canada Winter Games, judo often has the shortest duration of competition.
Judokas can lose a pair of fights in a matter of seconds and they’re out – that’s all she wrote.
That wasn’t quite the case with Yukon’s Jacob Melanson in Prince George, but a couple losses did spell the end of competition for him on Wednesday.
“It’s a great experience for me, and I can go back and tell everybody back in Whitehorse what a time I had and what an experience they can get going to these Games, even if you lose,” said Melanson. “I’m sad that I lost, but I feel good I have an experience I can take back.”
Melanson, who was competing in the up-to-66-kilograms division, lost to Newfoundland’s Dawson Sampson by ippon – a winning throw – in the early afternoon.
He then had a closer match against Saskatchewan’s Matthew Pullar a little over an hour later.
“The first fight was over pretty quick: the guy just caught him,” said Yukon coach Aaron Jensen. “Then it’s a waiting game. A lot of mental anguish takes place between that first fight and the next fight, because if you lost your first one, you’ve dropped down to the loser’s pool.
“He came out a totally different fighter. He did way better in the second fight. He was establishing his own grip, trying some attacks. It was quite even (but) Saskatchewan came out on top.”
“I felt I was quicker than the guy,” said Melanson. “I could get my grip and had a little more of an advantage when I had my grip – I got around faster. He kept closing me out, keeping me away. When I tried to go in he’d hit me or throw me.”
Melanson is a brown belt who trains primarily at Whitehorse’s Shiroumakai Judo Club, of which Jensen is sensei. The 17-year-old has competed at junior national championships.
He is the first Yukoner to compete in judo at the Canada Games since the 2007 Games in Whitehorse.
“One thing we’ve noticed: a lack of training partners really makes a difference,” said Jensen. “He doesn’t really have anybody in his weight category who are out on the mats with him all the time practising … Here, he didn’t have a team, he was by himself. So it was really hard to have a training session.”
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