Alberta’s Demaere brothers find the podium in judo, seven medals for the hosts on day 1 of judo

Joel and Nathan one of eight sets of siblings competing in judo at the 2019 Canada Winter Games

The Demaere brothers do a lot of sharing.

From a bedroom at home in Lethbridge to their love of Judo, the duo are never too far apart.

Even at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, they fought just one bout apart for gold in the judo competition at Westerner Park Tuesday.

Joel, 17, the older of the two brothers went first for gold in the 60 kilogram category and was victorious over Québec’s Arno Blacquière.

“I get super into our families’ fights. I was super excited, it really helps me fight, knowing that he got gold,” said Nathan, the younger brother.

He was up next and had a tough contest against Ontario’s Erik Vandersanden in the 66kg category. Nathan came up just short for gold but still leaves Red Deer with a silver and Joel said he was proud of his younger brother’s performance.

“It was pretty nerve-racking, but I was cheering hard for him. We’re training partners all the time, we sleep in the same bedroom.” Joel said.

The Alberta duo are one of the eight sets of brothers and sister competing in Judo this week at the Games. Nathan said they started out playing soccer, but switched to judo about six years ago. He noted one of the big reasons judo is important is it allows them to push each other every day.

“We have some really great fights in the dojo, we always fight each other the hardest because we’re brothers. There’s always way more competition,” he said.

The full list of siblings competing includes B.C.’s Isabelle (-63kg) and Payton Harris (-81kg); Manitoba’s Kadin (-55kg) and Kelden Bonnell (-50kg); Sarah (-57kg) and Justin Ekosky (-73kg); Ontario’s Angelina (-44kg) and Daniel McCristall (-60kg); P.E.I’s Lydia and Loren Enman (-63kg) and from Saskatchewan Euan (-50kg) and Max Litzenberger (-60kg) as well as Justin (-55kg) and Kyle McKay (-66kg).

On the opening day of judo, Alberta also had a huge medal haul. They picked up seven medals, including three gold, three silver and a bronze. Evelyn Beaton won gold 44kg category and Ema Tesanovic also earned gold in the 48kg. Kondelia Karas won silver in the 52kg, as well as Douglas O’Brien in the 50kg category and Michelle Grisales earned bronze in the 52kg.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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