Ontario, Quebec Take Gold. New Brunswick Surprises, in Judo Team Competition

Team Quebec looks on during the Gold Medal match of the Team Event for Judo at the 2011 Canada Games in Halifax

The Canada Games judo team competition is a unique and exciting opportunity for the athletes competing in the event. Normally an individual sport, the Canada Games is often the only opportunity these athletes will have to participate in a team event. The camaraderie and excitement that comes along with the team event is an experience that will provide many of the judoka with some of their most memorable moments of the games. Describing the team event, Nova Scotia’s Dylan Landry said, “coming together as individuals to compete as a team creates a new atmosphere and gives us a new perspective on our sport. You are not only worrying about your personal result, you want all your team members to do well.”

For the team competition, five athletes from each province face off in a single elimination draw. Athletes face off against the competing team’s player in their same weight category. After the five matches are contested, the points from each match are tallied and the team with the most points moves on. The men’s and women’s teams compete in separate events.

On the men’s side, the top seeded Quebec put forward an excellent performance, racking up victories over Newfoundland & Labrador and Manitoba before defeating British Columbia in the finals.  The bronze medal competition saw a surprisingly strong New Brunswick team take on Manitoba, with Manitoba getting the win after a tight competition.

Quebec also had a strong showing on the women’s side, making it to the finals where they took on Ontario. After a thrilling contest that ended in a tie, Ontario pulled off the upset victory with an ippon by Jaya Creavalle in the tiebreaker match. New Brunswick’s women followed up their impressive showing in the individual competition to take the bronze medal over Saskatchewan, despite being down two competitors due to injury.

With three straight days of great crowds and skilled performances, the 2011 Canada Games competition leaves a legacy of raising the profile of judo in Nova Scotia and introducing the country several of its future Olympians. All of the volunteers and organizers deserve tons of credit and appreciation for putting together such a successful event.

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The Ontario Women’s Judo Team Wins GOLD!

The Ontario Women's Judo Team stands atop the podium at the 2011 Canada Games in Halifax

It was an exciting day at St. Mary’s University in Halifax as the judo competition finished with the Canada Winter Games Team Judo Competition.

The Ontario Women’s Judo Team had a spectacular and exciting day that ended with the drama and thrill of being in the finals against Quebec.  After four matches against Quebec, Ontario women were tied at two wins each.  Jaya Creavalle was the tie breaking match in the +70kg weight class.  But her match ended in a hard fought draw. At this point, Ontario was tied with Quebec and a tie breaking match was required.  This tie-breaker was again fought by Jaya, who defeated her Quebec opponent by a dynamic ippon with drop seoi-nage. The crowd went wild!  What a fantastic way to finish off a terrific week of competition here in Halifax.

The Ontario Men’s Judo Team showed a lot of heart as they battled against New Brunswick, but were unfortunately beaten by a close three wins to two.  They were unable to advance in the competition on this day.

Congratulations and thanks should also go out to all of the officials, and volunteers who made the tournament possible. Also a special thanks to the Judo Ontario Referees, Tom Hino and Chuck Lee who worked tirelessly along with the other referees to provide us with a quality event.  You have done us proud!

Additionally, we would not have made it through the week without Jayson Doll and his colleagues at the Ontario Mission Staff! Thanks for everything.

We have had a great week here in Halifax and will remember our Games Experiences for years to come.  I have enjoyed the opportunity to share my thoughts on this blog, and I hope that you have enjoyed reading about them.

Thanks to all!

Aartje Sheffield

Another GOLD medal for the Ontario Judo Team

William (Cody) Dwyer of Ontario recieves his Gold medal in Judo at the 2011 Canada Games in Halifax

The second day of individual judo competition was a huge success for Team Ontario and the Ontario Judo Team.  The Ontario Judo Team was represented by six talented athletes who each showed a lot of heart during the competition.

Our overall results were one GOLD, and four BRONZE medals.

Our GOLD medal was won by William (Cody) Dwyer of Welland Ontario.  He won his final match by a spectacular, audience-pleasing ippon!  Cody has been a very supportive teammate and has show a quiet strength and determination.  He was a joy to watch.

Monika Burgess, of Kitchener, won her BRONZE medal match with flair.  She had a couple of beautiful, spectacular almost ippon scores and eventually came up with the big finale. 

Jaya Creavalle was strong and determined and was able to secure a BRONZE medal for Team Ontario through her efforts in her round robin pool in the -78kg class

Cynthia Beleno-Stitt, finished her round robin competition in a three-way tie.  The tied pool was rerun and Cynthia ended the day with a superb BRONZE medal finish in the +78kg class.

Andrew Balach showed grit and determination. Despite an injury to his elbow, he was able to make his way through his division to the semi-finals and ended the day with a BRONZE medal result.

Although Amanda Felker did not end the day with a medal, she certainly made her presence known by giving her very best effort.

With the individual competition over, we look forward to an exciting day at the Team Competition on Saturday!

Check out our photos on Flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aartje/sets/72157625962896801/with/5475052987/

Till then,

Aartje Sheffield

Quebec Dominates Day Two of Judo Action

Manitoba's Josef Hamraev Celebrates His Gold Medal Performance

Not satisfied with their previous day’s results, Team Quebec put forward a dominant performance on Day 2 of Canada Games judo action at the St. Mary’s Tower. By the end of the day, Quebec had racked up four gold medals, two silver, and one bronze. Added to their total from yesterday, Quebec finishes as the top ranked team following individual competition after posting medal performances in all fourteen categories.

The Maritime Provinces had another strong day, taking home a combined six medals. New Brunswick finished the day with a gold and two silver, while Nova Scotia’s Brent McDonald brought the hometown crowd to its feet with a silver medal performance. Prince Edward Island reached the podium for the first time at the judo event with a pair of bronze medals.

At the end of the individual competition, nine provinces had won multiple medals, demonstrating the quality of judo athletes being produced in all regions of the country. This increased parity is attributed to improved athlete development programs as well as the establishment of full-time provincial coaches in several provinces, including Nova Scotia.

Once again, an excellent crowd came out to watch the judo competition and they were treated to a second straight day of high quality competition. Some of the loudest cheers were reserved for Manitoba’s Josef Hamraev, who won the province’s only judo gold.

The judo competition will wrap up on Saturday with the team competition. The Canada Games is one of the few opportunities for judo athletes to compete in a team competition and is always a highlight for the teams. A random draw conducted Thursday night has Nova Scotia’s mens team facing off against regional rivals New Brunswick in what is sure to be a close and exciting matchup.

Four medals for the Ontario Judo Team including one GOLD!!

Team Ontario medalists in Judo

It makes me proud to be associated with the strong and dedicated group of athletes and coaches that make up the Ontario Judo Team. Each and every athlete put their heart and soul into Day 1 of the individual judo competition here at the Canada Winter Games.  I was impressed by the spunk and determination of Ontario’s judoka.

For their efforts the Ontario Team finished an outstanding day with one GOLD, two SILVER, and one BRONZE medal, along with two fifth place finishes and one seventh place finish! 

GOLD went to Nicole Jenicek, of Brampton, for her dominant performance in the -57kg womens’ class. She systematically defeated each opponent decisively, leaving no doubt as to who the winner should be.  When I asked Nicole afterwards about what drives her, she told me that “Dreams come true from dedication, hard work, will power and the support from loved ones.”  It is obvious that Nicole has the formula for success.  My congratulations go out to her family, coaches and friends!

Briana McCracken had a fantastic performance in the -52kg class and will proudly come home with a SILVER medal.  She fought all her matches with grit and not surprisingly made it to the finals.  Congratulations on winning the silver, Briana. 

Jonah Burt, walked through his -81 weight class with relative ease.  Although he did not win his final match against Jobb of BC, he did a spectacular job of winning a SILVER medal for Team Ontario.

Zachary Burt, got off to a tough start, but managed to end the day with a bang.  He went into his BRONZE medal match with determination and spunk which resulted in him winning the match with a spectacular throw for ippon.

Tyler Kamino competed throughout the day with skill and determination.  His efforts got him to the bronze medal match, but he unfortunately was unable to win the bronze. This put him in a very respectable 5th place finish.

Mackenzie Burt, our early bloomer in the -48kg class, show skill and class as she fought her way through her pool.  Unfortunately, the way the pool matches worked out, Mackenzie was unable to advance to the medal rounds, leaving her in a 5th place finish.

Despite travel challenges and delays to get to Halifax, Kenora’s Luke Heatherington, put himself out there and fought with heart and determination. His efforts earned him a 7th place finish.

Overall, it was a successful if not long day!  Four medals for the Ontario Judo Team on Day 1.  Who knows how many on Day 2?  Maybe all six!

Capacity Crowd Cheers on Pair of Nova Scotia Gold Medal Performances

Nova Scotia's Whitney Lohnes (blue) throws her opponent

The first day of the 2011 Canada Games judo competition is complete, with the home team Nova Scotia earning a pair of gold medals. Three Nova Scotians also posted fifth place, leading to one of the province’s best days ever at a Canada Games judo competition. A capacity crowd was vocal throughout the event, cheering Nova Scotia to their unprecedented result. Not to be outdone by their East Coast rivals, team New Brunswick took home four medals, including one gold, one silver, and two bronze.

Ontario coach Dave Burt also had a lot to be happy about. Not only did he lead his team to four medals as coach, Coach Burt is also the father of three Team Ontario athletes that competed today. Sons Zachery and Jonah took home bronze and silver medals in the judo competition respectively.

Quebec leads the medal count following day one of competition after earning a medal in each of the seven categories contested, reaffirming their status as a judo powerhouse. However, with eight provinces each earning multiple medals and an all-around high caliber of competition, it is clear that provinces from coast to coast are continuing to produce top quality athletes.

We Are Ready

Ontario Judo Team

Today marked the last day of preparation prior to the start of the individual judo competition days at the Canada Winter Games.  The Ontario Judo Team was up and on the go very early this morning for our 8am training.  

On Wednesday, the day will begin early with a 7am official weigh-in at the Prince George Hotel in Halifax.  This will be followed by a plentiful, nutritious breakfast and lots of time to rest and mentally prepare.  The athletes are scheduled to arrive at St. Mary’s University at noon and the competition will begin at 1pm. The Ontario Judo Team will have 7 athletes competing on Wednesday.  In the women’s weight classes, Mackenzie Burt (-48kg), Briana McCracken (-52kg), and Nicole Jenicek (-57kg) will compete.  The men’s divisions will be represented  by Tyler Kamino (-60kg), Luke Heatherington (-66kg), Zachary Burt (-73kg) and Jonah Burt (-81kg). 

On Thursday, the schedule will be similar except Ontario’s female competitors will consist of Monika Burgess (-63kg), Amanda Felker (-70kg), Jaya Creavalle (-78kg), and Cynthia Beleno-Stitt (+78kg).  Our men competing on Thursday will be Andrew Balach (-90kg), and William (Cody) Dwyer (-100kg). 

Tonight the coaches will attend the draw and also look forward to meeting friends and family at the Team Ontario reception this evening. 

Stay tuned for more updates. 

Till then,

Aartje Sheffield