The Kelowna Judo Club claimed its share of medals this month at a pair of tournaments in the valley.
The Okanagan Open, hosted by Kelowna Judo took place a couple weeks ago, featuring Okanagan clubs participating from Salmon Arm to Revelstoke to Penticton.
The event was aimed partly at the grass roots of judo, giving athletes an opportunity to take part in their first tournament or provide a less costly alternative than attending bigger Vancouver tournaments.
“I think everybody should be allowed to participate in a judo shiai,” says Kelowna Judo Club coach Kathy Hubble.
“It costs a lot of money for transportation, accommodations, and entry fees for the big tournaments and often we see many judoka not able to participate because of this,”says Hubble who is assisted by co-coach Stu Leatherdale. “Or the bigger tournaments start at yellow belt, so therefore the white-belt never gets a chance to compete. We organized this so that anybody can compete, and have a fun time doing it”
The next Okanagan tournament was the B.C. Open hosted last weekend by the Vernon Judo Club.
Gold medals for KJC competitors went to: Sloane and Peyton Betker, Sarah Clarke, Autumn and Malcolm Czarnecki, Shyanne and Sam Stewart, Kyle Gysler, Paul Proudly, Nic DeKergommeaux, Wylie Lemay, and Kathy Hubble. Silver medals went to: Sophie DeKergommeaux and Marko Sajdak.
“I was very impressed by every athlete’s amazing sportsmanship and grace displayed out there,” says coach Hubble, “and we had so much help from coaches Scott Betker, Nikki Terada, and Ken Pratt, cornering the athletes to their podiums, and helping with showing etiquette as well.”
“I saw one little girl crying from getting thrown and losing a match, and our judoka (who won the match) went straight over there afterwards to console her, and hang out with her till they were laughing again,” added Hubble. “Now they’re friends and that’s what judo is all about.
For more information on the Kelowna Judo Club, go to kelownajudo.com.