Participation totals in the Prince George Open judo competition have taken a dip.
But with a solid core taking part in matches in the annual event, Saturday at the Civic Centre, Prince George Judo Club head instructor Aline Strasdin wasn’t hanging her head.
“We had 200 competitors from the various clubs and I thought it went really well. Lots of good matches,” she said. “It’s a great tournament for the novice and the children’s divisions, and then it’s good that some of the higher level athletes, older athletes still compete in the P.G. Open.”
The 2010 event had 270 participants, so the decrease has been noticeable. While the timing is different, with the tournament falling before Easter long weekend this year, changes brought on from Judo Canada may have also influenced decisions of past participants not to return. For the past couple of years, the event hasn’t been a selection competition for the Judo BC provincial team as it had previously. Furthermore, a change in registration criteria meant white belts could no longer compete. Instead, the event included a skills competition for white belt judokas.
Regardless, the event is the most significant of the season for Strasdin’s club and the other two Prince George-based organizations, the North Capital Judo Club and Hart Judo Academy. And for the less experienced judokas in Prince George, it’s the highlight of the year.
“A lot of kids don’t travel for various reasons,” Strasdin noted.
Visitors came from Kamloops, Grande Prairie, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House. The matches began at 9 a.m., with the competition wrapping up at 3:30 p.m.
The Prince George Open also marks the culmination of the season for most judokas in the region. For the more competitive athletes, they’ll be training for upcoming national competitions this spring. The Canadian Senior Judo Championships are scheduled for May 21 and 22 in Edmonton, with junior nationals slated for July 1 to 3 in Sept-Iles, Que.
“Other than the national championships, we don’t have any scheduled tournaments,” Strasdin said.
First-place finishers for the Prince George Judo Club were: Storey Quinlan – novice girls minus-29 kg; Edgson Sydney – novice girls minus-34 kg; Joshua Hawkenson – novice boys minus-32 kg; Colby Hawkenson – novice boys U9 minus-24 kg; Matteo Rodrigues – novice boys U9 minus-21 kg; Tanner Matheson – novice boys U9 minus-32 kg; Tami Goto – junior girls 28 kg; Ryan Russell – junior boys U11 minus-36 kg; Kyle Wilkinson – junior boys U13 minus-40 kg; Levi Price – junior boys U13 minus-47 kg; Joshua Price – junior boys U9; Kris McGowan – novice men; Elijah Zwiers – U20 men’s open; and Shawn Botten – novice senior men.
Hart Judo Club winners were: Ilianna Bustamante – novice girls minus-32 kg; Kiara Katrinchuk – novice girls minus-40 kg; Taylor Rowland – novice girls minus-60 kg; Jordan Ardnt, Liam Connon and Robert Taylor – novice boys minus-27 kg; Jamie Allan – novice boys minus-35 kg; Logan Vennberg – novice boys U9 minus-40 kg; Cristina Bustamante – junior girls minus-40 kg; Grace Northrop – novice juvenile girls minus-46 kg and novice cadet women minus-51 kg; Juliana Bergstrom – novice juvenile girls minus-58 kg; Byron Laass – juvenile boys minus-40 kg; Christopher Grilz – juvenile boys; Lavanna Laass – cadet women’s U17; Jonathan Bergstrom – cadet men minus-65 kg; Mark Whalley – junior men minus-66 kg; and Mike Jarecki – novice senior men.
Spruce Capital Judo Club winners were: Alex Thanos – novice boys U9 minus-22 kg; Nicolas Richards – junior boys U11 minus-43 kg; Connor Slooyer – junior boys U13 minus-37 kg; Brandon Chow – junior boys U13 minus-54 kg; Eric Halsall – cadet men minus-59 kg; Brandon Slooyer – senior men; and Paul Bryant – senior men’s open.
Winners representing visiting clubs were: Riley Huntley (Maple Ridge) – novice boys minus-45 kg; Jaeden Wilson (Williams Lake) – novice boys U9 minus-30 kg; Liam Moss (Kamloops) – junior boys U13 minus-34 kg; Drew Ramsey (Kamloops) – novice juvenile boys minus-43 kg; Zac Anderson (Kamloops) – novice juvenile boys; Deborah Zemanek (100 Mile House) – junior women minus-50 kg; Ali Briggs (100 Mile House) – U20 women minus-56 kg; Dean Demers (Williams Lake) – novice senior men; Emily Schultz (Grande Prairie) – senior women’s open; and Jeff DiMarco (Williams Lake) – senior men.