The BC Winter Games judo competition got underway on Friday at Alberta McMahon Elementary School, and multiple medals were won by Abbotsford citizens who were ecstatic about their successful day.
Judoka Simran Brar of Zone 3 placed second in the under-50 kg weight class. Brar, age 15, is from Abbotsford and began judo when he was seven years old.
“I was lazy as a kid,” laughs Simran, “So my dad put me in judo and I liked it, so I stuck with it.”
Simran’s favorite technique to use is a special type of leg hook which he used today to achieve the silver medal. Upon asking what goes through his mind during the match Simran responded, “I can’t lose this one.”
Simran’s friend and competitor, Connor Slooyer, captured the gold medal in the same category. Slooyer recently moved to Abbotsford from Prince George to continue judo where there is more variety. Connor expressed that in order to have success you have to have “a positive mindset and to not be cocky.”
Sam Mikita, from Zone 5, also put up a hard fight with his opponents. At the start of his second match, he sprinted towards his opponent, and left himself vulnerable by exposing his right leg, which his opponent could have used against him in a throw. However, he went into a shoulder throw down, his favourite technique and both opponents ended up on the mat, where he used his ground skills to gain control over his opponent. In judo you can win a match by holding someone down for twenty seconds and that is what Sam did in this moment to win this particular afternoon.
Overall, Sam had four fights on Friday and won two and lost two. Interestingly, Sam’s great uncle, Stan Mikita, was a co-inventor of the curve on the hockey stick and former Chicago Blackhawks player.
Daniel Pyk from Abbotsford had an amazing day and won all five matches he fought, securing the gold medal. He went into each individual match confidently and had a fight that lasted close to a mere 30 seconds before he won. In another match he won only because his opponent had one more penalty point than him. Pyk’s father is a black belt and has competed in judo for 30 years.
Another Abbotsford participant, Ari Stan, competed in four matches today and won three of the four coming just shy of a bronze medal. His parents coach at an international level and his Dad was a former Romanian gymnast and judoka.
Robert Bateman student, Braeden Cryer, placed first and took home the gold for the under-60 kg group. Having improved since the 2012 Winter Games during which he he won zero matches, this year Braeden has showed how perseverance during loss is key to success. In order to prepare for the games this year, Braeden had to have lots of physical and mental preparation and train extensively in what moves or techniques he was planning to do. He started his fights with a good mindset and came out on top. Cryer has been in judo for seven years and hopes to pursue judo in his future.
“I’d like to continue as far as I can go, maybe not the Olympics but the Canada Winter Games would be great,” Braeden states.
Abbotsford was extremely successful in the judo matches at Alberta McMahon Elementary and the hard work and success will hopefully be continued on Saturday during further competition.
– Student journalist Taylor Campbell, Grade 11 Robert Bateman Secondary School