Local judo athletes face tough competition at Sask Open

Matthew Gourlie
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Damien Wiens, right, from the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club competes at the Sask Open

The Sask Open featured the highest level of judo competition in the province

for more than a decade.

Which made the successes of the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club even more impressive.

“It was probably the highest level of competition I’ve seen at a Judo Sask competition in 15 years,” said Koseikan instructor Jim Wiens.

“It was a much bigger field than normal. We had approximately 240 athletes and normally if we had 150 we would consider that a big tournament.”

The big field was due in large part to an influx of strong competition from outside of the province. The interest from out-of-province was a testament to how well Saskatchewan athletes have done in competition this season.

“Judo Sask has been doing a good job of sending their elite athletes to the other provinces — B.C., Alberta and Manitoba,” said Wiens. “Because of the good results that they’ve had, the (athletes from those other provinces) know that if they come here they will get good competition as well. It makes Saskatchewan a destination to come to get good judo competition.”

There was plenty of good competition in Regina at the Sask Open.

Damien Wiens, 11, won the club’s only gold medal with a strong performance in the under-13 under-34kg category.

“It was the first time for him competing at that level of competition,” said Wiens. “He actually lost his first match, which was a bit of an eye-opener for him. In province, he dominates his division.”

Damien Wiens got some advice from Sask. provincial coach Ewan Beaton and

came back to beat Lethbridge’s Brady Dixon in the gold medal match after Dixon beat him in his first bout.

“It was great to have Ewan there to give him that encouragement, that little bit of guidance to point out a few of the small changes and adjustments that he needed to make, which obviously worked,” said Wiens.

“It was a bit of a surprise for me, with him being a younger athlete, that he was able to cognitively make those changes on the fly without having to come back to the club and work on those things for a couple of weeks.”

Trent Hanson brought back a silver medal after competing in a pair of categories. He was seventh in Masters lightweight and second in the Senior Male under-73 kg.

“He went from doing it recreationally to starting to do it seriously,” said Wiens. “He has really started to get intense with the training — both here at the club on the mats and away from here.”

The other two Koseikan medalists came in the under-13 female under-40kg combined class. Ashley German finished second and Sara Wiens finished third.

Adam Langdon finished fourth in the under-21 male under-66 kg.

Brooke German was seventh in the under-18 female under-63 kg category and Taryn Montgomery was seventh in the under-18 female under-57 kg

Zachary German finished seventh in the under-15 male under-60 kg class.

Some of the top Koseikan athletes will join the Judo Sask team in two weeks to attend the Inner City tournament in Winnipeg.

The Koseikan club will have some of the younger athletes will attend the Vibank tournament in a week.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club

Geographic location: Judo Sask, Saskatchewan, Alberta Manitoba Regina

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