Yukon Athletes saw the sights, learned news skills and flipped and tossed their opponents on the Judo mat every which way during a Western Canada tour.
In April, the Judo Yukon competition development team competed in Richmond, British Columbia and Edmonton, Alberta and also took part in a training camp.
Of the 733 athletes participating in the Pacific International Judo Championship four were from the Yukon: Liam Gishler, Jaymi Hinchey, Lia Hinchey and Leah McLean.
Gishler placed fourth in the U16 male -55kg division and McLean did not place in U16 female 63kg. The Hinchey sisters each came away with a third-place finish — Jaymi in the U16 -57kg division and Lia in -52kg.
After the conclusion of the Pacific International Judo Tournament and joined by two other Yukon Judokas who had been unable to compete in the tournament, the Yukon team attended a training camp in Abbotsford, B.C.
The four-day camp saw Judo BC hosting teams from Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta as well as the Yukon.
Immediately after the Abbotsford training camp, the Yukon Judokas were off to the capital of Alberta for the Edmonton International Judo Championships. The three-day Edmonton tournament was even larger than the one in B.C. with 929 participants.
A notable match on April 23 saw the Yukon’s Bernard Briggs taking on some high-level competition. His opponent in the Veteran men’s 81 kg division was Ludwig Ortiz, a fifth-degree black belt and three-time Olympian from Venezuela who now lives in Quebec. Judo Yukon head coach Aaron Jensen said Briggs lost a close first match to the Olympian before also losing the second one.
That same day Gishler had two losses in the U18 male -55kg division. Huxley Briggs also went without a win in the U14 male -38kg division.
Jensen said April 23 saw hard-fought matches by all with much experience gained.
Judokas in the U12, U16 and senior divisions competed on April 24.
Gishler, back in his U16 division, had a record of two wins and two losses for the day. Huxley Briggs went 1-3, good for fourth place in the U16 -38 kg male division. In a senior men’s category for Judokas with yellow to blue belts 81 kg won three matches and lost two for a fourth-place finish.
On the female side of the draw, Leah McLean placed fourth in U16 -63kg with a record of one win and two losses. Jaymi Hinchey, U16F -57kg, lost her first match of the day to some tough competition from Ontario before winning two more and then lost the fourth to the same Ontario athlete. Her break-even record was good for fourth in the division. Lia Hinchey also went 2-2 for fifth in her division.
Along with the Judo Yukon contingent, Jensen said Eli Kiriak, a U12 athlete from Northern Lights Judo took on the fair play division where win/loss records were not recorded.
Jensen said the “western judo tour” was very successful overall and his athletes gained invaluable experience in matches and the training camp. There is also an eastern tour in the fall that the Yukon team plans to attend. It begins with the Quebec Open Judo Championship followed by a national training camp and then the Ontario Open.
Contact Jim Elliot at email@example.com