The Canadian Open Judo Championships ended today in Calgary, after 4 days of exciting judo from the best athletes in the country at the Olympic Oval. Once again, the province of Quebec was the big winner of the day, with 25 more medals to bring home by the senior athletes.
Hana Kuno (-63 kg), from Lethbridge Kyodokan Judo Club in Alberta, won the national title in her category. “I’ve been competing in Nationals since I was about 12 years old, and it’s not my first time winning, but I’m always just as excited to win as I was the first time, and being able to compete so close to home, with all my teammates, my family and my friends is always a bonus. With all the hours my coaches and I have put in, knowing that we’ve done everything possible to make sure I was in the best possible shape and that it paid off, is really rewarding. It feels really amazing,” she says. “I’m always nervous before a tournament, but I knew all my strategies, I knew what I had to do, so I was able to focus and just do it.”
On the male side, Shady El Nahas (-100 kg), from JCCC Judo Kai in Ontario, was also one of the big winners. “I felt confident before coming here. This is my eleventh national title, so I knew I could do it, I wasn’t nervous. I’ve been sick lately and I wasn’t feeling my best today, but I was hoping I’d be good enough, and I was. I think I could have done better. I would have liked to win with an ippon, but the main goal here was not to give a show, it was to win the fight. I did what I came here for, so I can’t complain, I’m very happy,” he explains. “My focus now will be on the Olympic qualifications for 2020 that are starting soon. I’ve worked hard, I’m confident that I can make it to Tokyo in 2 years.”
David Beaudin, chair of the Excellence Committee for Judo Québec, and Vincent Bouchard, chair of Judo Québec, couldn’t be happier with the performance of their province during the tournament. “We have a big team, around 180 athletes, and they performed the way we expected them to. We came in second for the U16 category, but our athletes still won a lot of medals; we only won one less gold medal than Alberta, and the line between a gold and a silver is often very thin. The U18, U21 and senior athletes did very well, so overall, we’re very pleased with our tournament,” says Vincent Beaudin. “Knowing that our athletes had to travel across the country to get here, it’s not always easy, they’re tired, so being able to dominate while being away from home is something we’re proud of. We know what Nationals will be in Alberta again for the next 3 years, but we’re hoping we can bring it back East after that. It’s a lot of expenses for our athletes and our clubs, and we know that some athletes who might have won medals here had to stay home because they couldn’t afford it,” added Vincent Bouchard. “However, we have to congratulate the organizing committee for doing such a great job. The tournament went on smoothly, the venue is absolutely amazing for this kind of event, and the whole thing just keeps getting better and better every year. We want to thank the committee and the volunteers for everything, and we’re hoping things will be just as good in Edmonton for the next three years.”
The results and statistics for the tournament can be found on judocanada.tv.
Written by Sarah Mailhot for Judo Canada