First tournament of the season, same lofty medal totals.
The Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club dominated the first provincial competition of the season this past weekend in Watrous, winning a total of 26 medals, 11 of those gold.
Almost as impressive as the medal haul was the number of competitors Koseikan sent to the event — the 28 fighters from Moose Jaw made up nearly a quarter of the total number of entrants.
“It was a very successful tournament for us,” said Koseikan instructor Jim Wiens, himself a silver medalist in the senior men’s 100-kg division. “Every time you get that many people going to a tournament and doing that well you have to be happy, especially when it’s the first tournament of the year.”
Several of the club’s top performances came in the younger division, including a breakthrough performance from Juvenile boys competitor Jeremy Williams, who went undefeated through his four matches to take first in the under-46 kilogram division.
“And he had to go through seven guys to get there, so it wasn’t easy for him at all,” lauded Wiens. “He’s the big kid on the block in his division this year and he should have a chance to do really well.”
Connor MacDonald (Cadet boys under-30 kg) and Leigh White (Cadet boys under-42 kg) also swept through their respective divisions with four straight victories while Brett Crabbe (Cadet boys under-46 kg) and Jennifer Herbert (Cadet girls under-30 kg) won gold as well.
In total, the club’s Cadet and Juvenile competitors accounted for 15 medals, a showing Wiens attributed in part to the recent addition of a ‘teen’ class to the Koseikan’s instructional repertoire.
“It puts them in a class where they’re fighting kids their own calibre instead of someone stronger or weaker then they are,” Wiens explained. “It’s helped a lot of them improve already.”
The Koseikan’s usual suspects also again reached the podium — Mark Pivovar went 6-0 to take first place in the senior men’s under-81 kg and 100-kg divisions along with Brian Smith (gold, junior men under-90) and Kailey Large (gold, junior women under-63).
The club’s success in recent tournament action mirrors that seen in it’s continued growth — the Koseikan Judo Club is currently the largest in Saskatchewan with 75 members, over half of those regular competitors.
The Koseikan also has the largest number of black belt judoka under their umbrella — no less than nine, the majority of which are regular instructors.
“We’ve had a lot of support over the last few years and I think that’s really helped,” Wiens said. “Hopefully we’ll continue to grow and continue to do as well as we have been.”
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald Dec 2, 2000