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.