Edmonton, May 17, 2019 – The second day of the Canadian Open Judo Championships saw the U18 and Veteran athletes battle for more national titles today at the University of Alberta Butterdome.
On the women’s side, Kiera Westlake, from Lethbridge Judo Club (AB), won her category once again. She has been a consistent winner for several years in the -57 kg category, winning numerous medals at the national level and competing in international tournaments.
“I was feeling good and strong today, it went fairly smoothly,” she said. “Training in the last few weeks was going great, so I wasn’t feeling nervous coming in. All the things I’ve been working on have improved, like my cardio, which helped me get through the day. There are still details I need to work on, but overall, I was pretty happy. Now I’m focusing on the Canada Cup in Montreal in a few weeks, and I’m hoping to qualify for the Cadet World Championships in Kazakhstan in September.”
While Kiera’s win was expected, Gunner Floyd, from Abbotsford Judo Club (BC), caused a surprise in -73 kg. At 17, it was his 4th time competing at Nationals, but his first time medalling. “I pretty much stayed by myself all day, except when I talked to my sensei. I like to focus and get in the zone, and being with others can be too distracting. I was a little nervous before my first fight, and it was by far the hardest, but after that, I knew it wouldn’t be harder than that, so it was okay.” Floyd will be competing again in a few weeks at the Canada Cup in Montreal, before training all summer to get ready for next season.
Another surprise was Greta Goasdoue-Wallace, from Alberta, in -63 kg. At 16 years old in a strong category, she stood out and was able to defeat more experienced fighters. Other medallists were mostly the favourites in their categories, notably Asia Douglas, from Ontario, in +70 kg.
Alberta Leads the Medal Count
After today, Alberta is in the lead with a total of 14 medals. With 5 gold medals, the Albertans outperformed the historically stronger team, Quebec, who won 4 golds, the same number as Ontario and British Columbia.
Alexandre Émond, a Judo Canada national coach, saw the evolution of judo in Canada in the last few years. “Not so long ago, Quebec would dominate every tournament in every category. Now, more provinces have hired provincial coaches working full time, and the results really show in tournaments like the Nationals. The medal count is a lot closer, and the overall level of performance is much higher than before. It’s great news for us, as these young athletes will be the next generation on the international scene. Alberta is especially standing out, winning half the medals in the girls’ categories, and the most gold medals overall today.”
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Written by Sarah Mailhot for Judo Canada
Chief Operating Officer