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