(June 10, 2015 – OTTAWA, ONT.) On the heels of a seventh-place finish in the Under 60kg category for Guelph, Ont. native Justin Karn at the IBSA World Judo Championships in Seoul, South Korea, Judo Canada has selected four athletes for nomination to represent Canada at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games in visually-impaired judo.
Alongside Karn, who won a bronze medal at the Guadalajara 2011 Parapan Games, the squad includes Ottawa’s Tony Walby, a veteran judoka in the 90kg division who also won a bronze medal at the Guadalajara 2011 Parapan American Games. Both are London 2012 Paralympians.
Alexander Radoman, who placed seventh at the Rio 2007 Parapan American Games and was the Under 90kg silver medallist at the 2014 Germany Open and Priscilla Gagné, the Under 52kg bronze medal winner at the IBSA/IJF 2015 Hungary World Cup, round out the team.
The team is coached by Andrzej Sadej of Ottawa, Ontario.
“Our performance objective for the 2015 Parapan Am Games is a place on the podium for each of the Canadians with a stretch goal of two gold medals”, said Sadej. “The Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games is a very important competition for the judo squad as it serves as a qualifier for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Three of the four Canadians are now ranked within the selection zone, so reaching our performance objectives in Toronto will solidify their chances to qualify.”
Last month, Priscilla Gagné had the honor of joining Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama, to represent Parapan athlete hopefuls at a reception to highlight the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games, along with boccia Paralympian Marco Dispaltro and two Olympians.
Gagné moved to Ottawa in 2013 to join the renowned Takahashi Dojo, where she trains under former national team judoka and Olympian Nathalie Gosselin and alongside veteran teammate Tony Walby.
Visually-impaired judo is a contact combat sport. Key elements include balance, touch proprioception and combative instinct, all of which are highly developed qualities possessed by elite athletes with a visual impairment. Judo demands extreme physical and strategic performance and competitors must use different techniques to overcome or immobilize their opponent.
“Small but mighty,” said Chef de Mission Elisabeth Walker-Young. “The Judo team may be small in numbers, but is mighty in athletic performance and personality. As Chef de Mission, every athlete selected brings a smile to my face. Welcome to the team Justin, Tony, Alex and Priscilla. I cannot wait to see you in action!”
With a goal of finishing in the top three nations in the total medal count, Canada is expected to send approximately 220 athletes to the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games from August 7 to 15. Qualification is ongoing and the full team will be officially announced in July 2015.
“With the announcement today of the judo athletes named to the Canadian Parapan Am Team, we are one step closer to the start of the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games,” said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). “During this Year of Sport in Canada, I join all Canadians in wishing our judo athletes the best as they vie for the podium.”
Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games tickets are currently on sale. The Parapan judo competition will take place at the Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ont. Tickets are available online at TORONTO2015.org/tickets.
Fans can follow Team Canada’s judokas en route to the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by accessing all of the latest news, events, and results at judocanada.org.
Team Canada JUDO – Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games
Athlete and coach bios available at paralympic.ca/athletes
*Tony Walby – Ottawa, Ont. (men’s -90kg); training in Ottawa, Ont.
*Justin Karn – Fergus, Ont. (men’s -60kg); training in Montreal, Que.
Priscilla Gagné – Granby, Que. (women’s -52kg); training in Ottawa, Ont.
Alex Radoman – Hamilton, Ont. (men’s -81kg); training in Montreal, Que.
*Denotes previous Parapan Am Games experience
Head Coach: Andrzej Sadej – Bydgoszcz, Poland, now living in Ottawa, Ont.
Team Leader: Nathalie Gosselin – Levis, Que., now living in Ottawa, Ont.
About Judo Canada
Judo Canada is the national sport governing body for the sport of judo in Canada and has overall authority to provide leadership in promotion and development as well as govern all aspects of Judo in Canada and to select and prepare Canadian teams for international competition. Judo Canada is a not-for-profit Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Association operating under a board of directors elected by provincial/territorial members.
For more information, visit: www.judocanada.org
About the Canadian Paralympic Committee
The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization with 25 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The Canadian Paralympic Committee’s vision is to be the world’s leading Paralympic nation. Its mission is to lead the development of a sustainable Paralympic sport system in Canada to enable athletes to reach the podium at the Paralympic Games. By supporting Canadian high performance athletes with a disability and promoting their success, the Canadian Paralympic Committee inspires all Canadians with a disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organizations. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca
For more information, please contact:
Media Attaché, Judo, Canadian Parapan Am Team
Senior Manager, Media Relations and Communications
Canadian Paralympic Committee