Record numbers Hants County ath­letes head­ing to Que­bec for na­tional karate tour­ney

Valley Journal Advertiser - - SPORTS - BY CA­ROLE MOR­RIS- UNDERHILL WWW. HANTSJOURNAL. CA HANTS COUNTY Cmor­ris- underhill@ hantsjournal. ca

Five youth from the Wind­sor Karate Club are about to em­bark on a trip that is sure to el­e­vate their skill set.

Jesse Niet, An­gel Niet, Alex Lygh­tle, Maddison Hol­lett, and Ai­den Postma have been se­lected to rep­re­sent Team Nova Sco­tia at the 2017 Karate Canada Na­tional Cham­pi­onships in Que­bec. A total of 16 youth made the team.

Join­ing them from the Wind­sor club is sen­sei David Grif­fin, who will be there ref­er­ee­ing the matches, and Karen Ar­mour, who will be coach­ing.

“I’m ex­tremely proud. This is quite a mo­men­tous time to have this many on the team this year,” said Grif­fin.

Grif­fin has been at­tend­ing na­tion­als – ei­ther as a com­peti­tor, coach or ref­eree – for more than 30 years. While none of the Wind­sor com­peti­tors have been to na­tion­als be­fore, he’s sure they will quickly ad­just to the high cal­i­bre ath­letes around them and blos­som.

“Pro­vin­cial, lo­cal and re­gional tour­na­ments are quite dif­fer­ent than a na­tional tour­na­ment,” said Grif­fin.

“I think they will be ex­posed to a level of com­pe­ti­tion that they haven’t seen be­fore. I know that they are ca­pa­ble of step­ping up and par­tic­i­pat­ing at that level. I think that it will be an eye- open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for them.”

Four­teen- year- old Maddison Hol­lett is one of the com­peti­tors head­ing to Que­bec City Feb. 23- 25.

“I’ve never been to na­tion­als or to Que­bec or any­thing like that. It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing,” said Hol­lett, who has a brown belt and will be com­pet­ing in the kata cadet age 14- 17 di­vi­sion.

Hol­lett has been in­volved in karate for eight years and said she’s sure to pick up some good tech­niques while away, but has been prac­tic­ing hard lead­ing up to the com­pe­ti­tion.

“I’m just prac­tic­ing a lot more than I used to be­cause it’s a re­ally big event,” said Hol­lett, who is from Bel­mont. “I’m spend­ing more time think­ing on karate than with other stuff. Of course, I still have to do school, so I bal­ance both of them out. But I man­age to do them.”

She spends about five hours a week – three hours at the dojo and two hours at home – train­ing for the com­pe­ti­tion.

Lygh­tle, who hails from Eller­shouse, has a green belt and has been in­volved with the sport for about four years. He’s proud he made the team, and hopes to make the prov­ince proud as well.

“I think it’s go­ing to be re­ally fun go­ing and I’m re­ally proud of my­self for get­ting on the team,” said Lygh­tle.

“It’s such a big thing to rep­re­sent your prov­ince. You don’t just get to do that ev­ery day. That’s prob­a­bly what I’m most ex­cited for,” said Lygh­tle, who is 12.

There will be about 600 ath­letes at­tend­ing na­tion­als from across Canada. Grif­fin said the lo­cal com­peti­tors have worked hard to make the team.

“They are all in­ex­pe­ri­enced so that could be a fac­tor in their over­all per­for­mance but they are fit and they are ready and they have good at­ti­tudes and good role mod­els,” he said.

Grif­fin won’t be in­volved with ref­er­ee­ing any matches con­tain­ing Team Nova Sco­tia mem­bers. But, that doesn’t mean he won’t be in­ter­ested in see­ing how his dojo’s dis­ci­ples are do­ing.

“I’m not sup­posed to be on the mat when any­body from Nova Sco­tia is on the mat. I can’t be a part of that,” said Grif­fin. “But, I will cer­tainly be watch­ing them from the cor­ner of my eye when they come out to see how they do.”

CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UNDERHILL

Wind­sor Karate Club mem­bers, from left, back row: Maddison Hol­lett and An­gel Niet; front row: Ai­den Postma, Alex Lygh­tle and Jesse Niet are ready to head to na­tion­als later this month.

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