Spotlight on Louis Graveline and Roger Tremblay

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Last Sunday, during the Canadian Open Judo Championships, Judo Canada held its 2021-2022 Annual Awards and Recognition Gala. The event recognizes the contributions of volunteers and athletes of all levels who meet the gold standard of commitment to judo and who are crucial to the development and advancement of judo in Canada. Louis Graveline and Roger Tremblay were the stars of this year’s event.

Louis Graveline was awarded the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, a national honour granted for the first time this year to recognize an outstanding accomplishment or contribution to judo.

Graveline began practicing judo in the 1960s at the urging of Harold Bienvenue, who later became his mentor. Almost 60 years later, he is still involved in the sport. As an athlete, coach and referee, the judo enthusiast has trained nearly 80 athletes who have earned black belts in Saint-Hyacinthe and Beloeil.

Currently technical director of the Saint-Hyacinthe club, Graveline has demonstrated his commitment to the advancement of judo in Canada throughout his career, including by officiating several major competitions, such as the 1995 World Junior Championships and the 1999 World Senior Championships.

Roger Tremblay was inducted into the Judo Canada Hall of Fame as a Builder.
The head of the Judokas Jonquière Club—named Club of the Year thanks to its 280 members as of March 31, 2022—has trained 150 black belts over the course of his career. Many have gone on to become Canadian champions, and two have even competed at the Olympic Games: Jean-Pierre Cantin and Antoine Bouchard.

Tremblay also has a rich history with the national and provincial teams, where he was an athlete before becoming assistant coach and then head coach. He has sat on several organizing committees for major competitions, continually providing inspiration to those around him.

“Two great judokas who have dedicated their lives to judo! They have fought through every challenge, and their hard work, unwavering passion and unbounded commitment have made judo in Quebec and Canada what it is today. Nowadays, they can still be found on the tatamis, where they continue to offer valuable advice to the younger generations. Judo has given them a lot, but they have returned it tenfold,” stated Patrick Esparbès, Chief Operating Officer of Judo Canada.

Klimkait and El Nahas honoured
Several other prizes were awarded during the Annual Awards and Recognition Gala.Ontario’s Jessica Klimkait won the Most Outstanding Senior Female Athlete of the Year Award, thanks in part to her bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. Her compatriot Shady El Nahas, who was also part of the Canadian delegation to last year’s Summer Games, won the same award in the men’s category.

Charlize Isabelle Medilo (U18), John Jr. Messé A Bessong (U18), Amélie Grenier (U21)and Nikola Petrovic (U21) were named Most Outstanding Athletes in their respective categories, after having won the national titles at the Canadian Open Championships on the weekend.

The evening’s other winners were:
Outstanding Shiai Volunteer Award: Alan Sakai
Outstanding Board & National Committee Contribution Award: Sandy Kent
Most Outstanding Referee Contribution Award: Mohamad Reza Hassani
Presidential Recognition Award: Donald Ferland
Judo Canada Hero Award: Mario Desforge
Grading: Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, Jessica Klimkait, Arthur Margelidon and Priscilla Gagné

“The awards and honours presented this weekend reflect a united, vibrant sports community that recognizes the contributions and efforts of all. We hope this 2022 edition will breathe new life into our community and bolster our young people, who sorely need it,” concluded Esparbès.

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