Young ju­doka com­pete at be­gin­ners tour­na­ment in Swift Cur­rent

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBENBERG - mlieben­berg@prairiepos­

The Swift Cur­rent Judo Club hosted a be­gin­ners tour­na­ment to give young ath­letes an op­por­tu­nity to de­velop their skills in a com­pet­i­tive set­ting.

The be­gin­ners judo tour­na­ment for par­tic­i­pants in the un­der eight, 10 and 12 age cat­e­gories took place at O.M. Ir­win School, Nov. 17.

Swift Cur­rent Judo Club Head Coach Nancy Je­witt-Fil­teau said the club has never hosted a be­gin­ners tour­na­ment be­fore.

“This was the first time we've tried the be­gin­ners tour­na­ment and I think it turned out not too bad with the way the weather was,” she men­tioned.

There were about 50 par­tic­i­pants and around 12 from Swift Cur­rent Judo Club. The other par­tic­i­pants came from clubs in Medicine Hat, Moose Jaw, Regina, and Vibank.

She felt it was use­ful to have a tour­na­ment for younger ath­letes, be­cause it helped them to get used to the tour­na­ment for­mat and to un­der­stand what is go­ing on.

“It just helps the kids to get over a few jit­ters,” she said. “So they feel com­fort­able com­pet­ing and it also gives them a chance to make friends and have a good time, and that's what judo is all about. We want them to make life­long friends. My usual talk is that I want you to fight hard, have fun and meet friends.”

The Swift Cur­rent Judo Club cur­rently has around 25 mem­bers and for the older chil­dren the event was an op­por­tu­nity to give back to the sport.

“They all ref­er­eed to­day and learned a lit­tle bit about ref­er­ee­ing,” she said. “So if they don't want to go down the com­peti­tor stream they can also go down the ref­er­ee­ing stream or coach­ing stream even­tu­ally, but for now it's ref­er­ee­ing and com­pe­ti­tion.”

Je­witt-Fil­teau has just been elected as the new pres­i­dent of Judo Saskatchew­an. She still feels a bit ner­vous about her new po­si­tion, but views the two-year term as an­other op­por­tu­nity to give back to the sport.

“It's go­ing to be a big learn­ing curve, but the past pres­i­dent will be there to help men­tor me,” she said.

She wants to con­tinue to grow judo in the prov­ince and to give more fam­i­lies the op­por­tu­nity to en­joy a sport that has made such a big dif­fer­ence in her life.

“I re­ally love judo,” she said. “Judo has been part of my life since I've been 11 years old. ... My par­ents looked for­ward go­ing to tour­na­ments, be­cause then they could sit with their friends and I could hang out with my friends. And so I'm hop­ing if we do that, then we'll get more peo­ple want­ing to do judo.”

Judo Saskatchew­an is cur­rently pre­par­ing for the 2019 Canada Win­ter Games in Red Deer, Al­berta, and she will be one of the team coaches.

She is a mul­ti­ple na­tional judo cham­pion who com­peted with the Cana­dian judo team at the 1996 At­lanta Olympic Games. She is cur­rently coach­ing judo in Swift Cur­rent and is also a Judo Saskatchew­an high per­for­mance coach.

Above: Swift Cur­rent's Ty­don Moen coun­ters a throw­ing at­tempt by Anna Li of the Regina Y Judo Club dur­ing a U10 match. Right: Swift Cur­rent's Con­nor Cas­son throws Bran­don Gib­son of the Vibank Judo Club dur­ing their U12 match.

Pho­tos by Matthew Liebenberg

Chris Cooledge of the Swift Cur­rent Judo Club tries to re­sist a hold by Asia Asham-Poitras of Regina's Sen­shu­dokan Judo Club dur­ing a match in the U12 Ne-waza (ground tech­nique) divi­sion.

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