Montreal, January 13, 2019 – After two days of intense competition with the best athletes from each province, the 2019 edition of the Elite National Championship came to an end on Sunday at la TOHU. The U18 athletes were under the spotlight, some of whom had also fought on Saturday.
One of these athletes was Kierra Westlake, from Alberta. After a rough day Saturday, she was able to make a comeback all the way through the finale in the U18 -57 kg category. “Yesterday, my head wasn’t clear, and I make some mistakes that I shouldn’t have done,” she explained. “Today, I came back with a clear mind and I really focused on not making those mistakes again. The whole day felt consistently good, I’m a lot happier with the result I had today.” Westlake won the title after winning against Aibhleann Alexander, from Quebec, in the finale. On top of her gold medal, Westlake won the best U18 female athlete award for her outstanding performance during the tournament. Payton Harris, from British Columbia, won the award on the men’s side.
Maximus Litzenberger (-60 kg), from Saskatchewan, had a perfect day. He first defeated Olivier Ostigny (QC) in the preliminaries, then Seth Nobert (AB) in the semifinal, and finally Brady Dixon in the finale. “When I woke up, I felt ready and I had a good warm-up. My first fight went well, and I won with my favourite throw, so I felt very confident going into the second fight. It kept going well and I was feeling strong and ready for the finale,” he said. On the podium, he had the honour of receiving his medal from Frazer Will, also from Saskatchewan, who was inducted to the Judo Canada Hall of Fame on Saturday. “It was an amazing moment for me. We have posters of him everywhere in my club, and he’s definitely someone I look up to, so it was really awesome. He’s one of my idols, and I’m hoping to be the kind of athlete he was.”
Quebec Leads the Medal Count, but Lethbridge Wins the Honours
On the medal scoreboard, the province of Quebec was the leading with a total of 46 medals won during the weekend. Ontario followed in second place with 25 medals, and Alberta completed the top 3 with 24 medals.
On the U18 club ranking, the big winner was the Lethbridge Judo Club, from Alberta, with a total of 42 points. After years of finishing in second place, this first place was a sweet victory for the head coach, Russell Gallant. “I’m very proud of all my athletes. They’ve been working really hard, and with this result here, it shows that all the hard work has paid off, and we’re going in the right direction,” he said. The second best-performing team with the Toronto Judo Kai (ON) with 25 points, and Burnaby Judo Club (BC) was in third place with 21 points. The fourth and fifth places were very close, with 17 points for Hiros Judo Club (AB) and 16 for Club de judo Shidokan (QC).
Written by Sarah Mailhot for Judo Canada
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