Alberta is posting its best-ever results in judo — taking home 12 medals, so far, in the 2019 Canada Winter Games out of 14 athletes who are competing.
“This is, by far, our best judo results for Alberta — ever — of any Games,” said Russ Gallant, manager of the Judo Alberta team, referring to the medal count from Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s competitions.
Gallant sends “kudos” to head coach Ewan Beaton, and to the 14-to-17 year-old athletes who are becoming a strong force on the national stage.
Gold-medal winner Kiera Westlake is one of the team’s most dogged competitors. Westlake didn’t give her opponent an inch during Wednesday’s finals. The Lethbridge native won in the -57 kg class when B.C.’s Caleigh Takura Kuramoto racked up three penalties largely for “false attacking,” or acting too defensively.
“A win is a win,” concluded Westlake, whose bandaged face shows the marks of her sport.
“I really enjoy competing and working on my technique. I’ve been working very hard since I was little, so I am happy to win,” she added.
Takura Kuramoto ended up with the silver medal in the category and bronze medalists were Alyssandra Phoebe Manuel of Ontario and Anna-Clara Guerin of Quebec.
Team Alberta earned a silver medal when Nicholas Gagnon was narrowly defeated by gold medalist Victor Gougeon-Gaze of Quebec in the men’s -73 kg category.
Gagnon later said he wished his hands had been positioned better to grip his opponent, who ended up throwing him down on the mat.
But each competition offers another lesson, said the Fort Saskatchewan native, who was generally happy with all of his fights at the Games.
Bronze medalists in that category were Manitoban Justin Ekosky and B.C.’s Lochlan Gary Young.
Albertans also won several bronze medals in judo:
– Airdrie’s Teyana Roberts won bronze along with Samia Boussarhane of Quebec in the -63 kg women’s category. The gold medalist was Isabelle Harris of B.C. and Nova Scotia’s Sierra Tanner won silver.
– Lethbridge native Taylor Althouse won bronze along with Manitoba’s Michael Akbashev for the -81 kg men’s category. The gold medalist was Alexandre Arencibia of Quebec and B.C.’s Payton Harris won silver.
– St. Albert’s Sasha Tanasiuk won the bronze along with Wilson Elliot of NWT in the men’s +81 kig event. The gold medalist was Ian Ryder of B.C. and Quebec’s Martin Penchev won silver.
Only two judo competitions on Wednesday didn’t end with an Albertan on the podium.
In the -70 kg female, B.C.’s Brae Booth got gold, Quebec’s Ilhem Ouali won silver, and the bronze medalists were Ontario’s Bailey Doerfler and New Brunswick’s Keeley Hussey.
And in the +70 kg female event, Quebec’s Coralie Godbout won gold, Manitoba’s Sam Ulrich got silver, and bronze medalists were Saskatchewan’s Nessa Keays and Emma Mullett of Newfoundland/Labrador.