Three Yukon judokas, three medals.
That, in a nutshell, is the how things went for Judo Yukon athletes the last couple weeks in Montreal and Toronto.
Yukoners Cassi Jensen, Daniel Tonner and Shayne Melanson each won a piece of hardware on a trip to the Quebec Open and Ontario Open, with a training camp in between.
“My goal was for them to get exposed to these tournaments and gain some experience,” said Judo Yukon high-performance coach Bianca Ockedahl. “I said if they get some results, it’s a bonus, and it’ll help keep them motivated.
“The whole purpose was for them to see what they need to work on this whole year and what we, as a coach and athlete, need to work on together. To see if they can handle high training, high volume, as well.
“These kids maybe train for three times a week for judo and at the training camp it was twice a day for four days.”
Jensen claimed the highest prize of the three. The blue belt won both her fights for gold in the U14 under-48 kg female division in Toronto.
“She has been the hardest working athlete at the end of last season and the beginning of this season so far,” said Ockedahl. “She’s driven and wants to get better and comes and approaches the coaches for feedback and help.
“I told her that sometimes it takes a bit of time to get a reward for the hard work and I’m glad she was able to do so this week.”
Tonner, a green/blue belt, took bronze in his U14 under-42 kg male division in Toronto, winning one fight and losing two.
The previous weekend at the fourth annual Quebec Open, Melanson captured bronze in the U18 under-90 kg male division. The brown belt won two and lost one for the medal — the first won by a Yukoner at the event in recent history.
“Unfortunately Shayne ended up getting concussed during that last fight and was not allowed to participate in the training came all week or at the Ontario Open,” said Ockedahl.
Also in Montreal, Jensen placed fourth and Tonner ninth in their respective divisions.
Between the opens Jensen and Tonner took part in a training camp at the Institut National du Sport in Montreal.
“These kids are the elite kids. There’s more than just them, but some couldn’t make it,” said Ockedahl. “Now they have to rest and recover and get ready for our next event for the elite squad.”
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