Local judo club see many wins in recent weeks

Elisa Nguyen
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
enguyen@fortfrances.com

Borderland Judo Club has had a successful few weeks of continued passion and growth in the art of judo. Students competed in tournaments earning medals in their respective divisions and many new students moved up in the ranks.

Last week, 13 students were graded and earned their yellow belt.

In order to achieve their yellow belt, students have to know the Japanese terminology for various techniques and be able to perform select hold down and throwing techniques, said Sensei Gord Witherspoon.

The yellow belt students, as seen wearing bright smiles in the group photo, included Orion Bye, Ryker York, Lily Mowe, Tily Sexton, Brayden Wood, Sam Both, Dom Sexton, Colton Rodrigues, Landon Medwechuck, and Logan Medwechuck. Missing from the group photo were Liam Caul, Owen Gibson, and Rocco Woodgate.

As for recent out-of-province tournaments, some students travelled to Manitoba to compete at the Selkirk Open which took place at Lord Selkirk High School on Jan. 20, and at the Inner City Judo Tournament which took place at Churchill High School on Feb. 3.

“Every one of the kids fought hard and represented the club incredibly well, with every single one of them medalling in their respective divisions,” said Sensei Witherspoon.

In the tournament group photo posing with Sensei Witherspoon, students that competed at the tournament included Mudmee Murell, Pobp Murell, Sawyer Lance, Brayden Wood, Khloe Laur, Koen Tucker, Paxten Hughes, and Mitchel LeBlanc. Missing from the photo were Liam Wood, Rosina Woodgate, and Sensei Randy Ball.

At the Inner City tournament on Feb. 3, Sensei Chuck Macdonald from Thunder Bay, formerly from Fort Frances, stepped in to coach the students at the tournament on behalf of Sensei Witherspoon and Sensei Ball, a reflection of sportsmanship and unity between all judo clubs in northwestern Ontario.

“Neither Randy nor I could make it to the tournament so Chuck stepped in to coach our kids,” said sensei Witherspoon. “When I tell people that we consider NW Ontario to be one big club, this is what I mean. We’ll step in and help coach each other’s kids regardless of what club or town they’re from in northwestern Ontario.”