Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Dustin Cook

TAKING THE MAT – (Left) Kenai Bryden from Hiroshikai Judo Club in Carcross takes control of Liam Gishler in a U-12 33 kg bout at the Golden Horn Judo Tournament Saturday. (Right) Northern Lights judoka Clovis Bergeron lands a takedown on Connor Wiltse in their U-12 30 kg match.

Golden Horn hosts final club tournament

It was the final club tournament of the weekend as the Golden Horn Judo Club hosted the eager, young fighters Saturday.

By Dustin Cook on February 21, 2018

It was the final club tournament of the weekend as the Golden Horn Judo Club hosted the eager, young fighters Saturday.

Four of the Yukon judo clubs had the opportunity this season to host a tournament including the two clubs outside of Whitehorse – the Carmacks Judo Club and Hiroshikai Judo Club out of Carcross.

But Northern Lights Judo Club sensei Dan Poelman said they have planned another tournament for the young judokas in the form of a team tournament.

At the beginning of March the Carmacks club will host a team tournament where fighters will fight as a club in the different weight classes against the other teams and score points for their club.

The weekend tournament out of Golden Horn Elementary School focused on the younger fighters with 14 and under as the highest division and most competitors in the mixed 12 and under divisions separated by weight class.

With more skill and knowledge from the previous tournament in January, many of the younger divisions also fought in the tachi-waza format – which is from a standing position – rather than the ne-waza ground fighting they learned as beginners. The bouts were timed and judges awarded decisions at the end of each match as to who was the winner.

The Hiroshakai Judo Club out of Carcross brought five of their figthers down for the tournament, sensei Robert Bellon said. They have about 15 club members, many of whom are beginners.

Bellon said numbers have held steady since he took the reins of the club about five years ago.

He said many of the athetes are beginners giving it a try and many decide not to continue pursuing the sport, and then the cycle continues as a new batch of beginners join the club.

The Carcross club hosted the first competition of the season back in October.

Hiroshikai judoka Kenai Bryden was up against two Northern Lights fighters in the U-12 33 kilogram division and went undefeated to win the gold.

The U-12 30 kilogram division saw four fighters – three out of the Northern Lights Club and one from Carmacks, coached by five-time national champion Bianca Ockedahl. The club is in its second season after Ockedahl formed it and became head sensei in 2016.

Olivia Vanheel was the Carmacks competitior in the 30 kilogram division, which was won by Clovis Bergeron.

This tournament was also focused on proper protocol with athletes bowing while entering the mat and before the competition as well as after the match.

There was only one central mat for competition rather than several bouts going on at one time to allow more room for the standing fights.

The only Judo Yukon club to not host a tournament this season was the Shiroumakai Judo Club which is the more advanced juice club for the more-experienced and older competitors.

These athletes have been training for out-of-territory competitions including the Edmonton International shiai running March 9-11 inside West Edmonton Mall.

The club will also host the Yukon Championships in April.

But first it is the team competition, known as the Carmacks Judo Challenge on March 3 where the four clubs will put each other to the test and see which group comes out on top.

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