Young judoka compete at beginners tournament in Swift Current
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.
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.