Ready to represent Canada
P.E.I.’s judo, submission grappling athletes excited to compete in Los Angeles
There will be Prince County representation at the 2017 World Police and Fire Games from Aug. 7 to 16.
Chris Townsend, Patrick Daley and Mitchell DesRoches will compete in judo while Joel Robichaud is competing in submission grappling.
They are the only four P.E.I. athletes competing in judo and submission grappling, although Townsend noted the Charlottetown Police Services have members competing in other sports. Fisheries officer Jared Waterman, 37, of Newfoundland and Labrador will also compete in judo with the Island athletes.
“It’s fun,” said Townsend, who along with DesRoches and Daley attended this same event in 2013 in Ireland. “It’s good competition, it’s competing against guys who are in our field of work.
“It’s a good environment, and it’s pretty exciting to walk into the opening ceremonies with our peers.”
Townsend, Daley and DesRoches are all members of the Summerside Toshidokan Judo Club.
“We are excited to go back,” said Daley. “We had an experience back in 2013, and that was an eye-opener to the level of competition when you are meeting top-notch guys from other countries.
“We were exposed to it then, and now we have a better idea of what we are up against. Our mindsets are a little different. . . It’s not going to be as much of a shock. Last time it was more an experience, this time we will try to compete a little harder.”
DesRoches acknowledged the 2013 Games proved to be an “eye-opener” for the P.E.I. athletes.
“We didn’t expect it to be as competitive as it was,” he admitted. “It kind of gave us the motivation to train a little bit harder this time, and we know what we need to work on.”
Robichaud described submission grappling as basically Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
“It’s a grappling martial art that focuses on the ground and submissions is the main goal,” explained Robichaud. “It’s kind of a mix between judo, wrestling, catch wrestling.”
All four athletes admit they have a goal of bringing home a medal.
“I’d like to win gold honestly if I could,” said Robichaud. “If not, (I want to) fight hard in my matches.”
Townsend got a taste of what it’s like to win a medal in Ireland, when he captured bronze.
“I’m going to use it as a stepping stone to have a good year in judo,” said Townsend. “I want to go back to nationals this year.”
Daley added, “Anytime you go into a tournament the goal is to always medal, especially in a high-level competition.”
DesRoches said athletes always “want to medal,” but this is an extra significant international event.
“To get an international medal would be a big goal for me,” he added.
DesRoches admitted athletes from different countries do provide different styles.
“You will see guys moving different,” he continued. “It’s not the same as around here.
“Everybody around the Maritimes fights a lot the same. Especially when you fight European people, their stances are different, their grips are different, their throws are different and their ground techniques are different.”
Townsend, Daley, Robichaud and DesRoches all noted they are very appreciative of “Island-wide support” they have received in fundraising for this trip.
“It was overwhelming how much support we got,” noted Townsend.
Four athletes from P.E.I. will compete in judo and submission grappling at the 2017 World Police and Fire Games in Los Angeles from Aug. 7 to 16. From left: Chris Townsend, judo; Mitchell DesRoches, judo; Patrick Daley, judo, and Joel Robichaud, submission grappling.