Top-class experience golden for locals

Matthew Gourlie
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None of the members of the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club won an event this weekend.

Damien Wiens from the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club, left, and Justin McKay from the Pense Judo Club compete at the Sask Open.

That didn't bother Koseikan head instructor Jim Wiens.

For the first time in more than a decade, the Sask Open Judo tournament was designated as a points event by Judo Canada. That drew a field of 260 from Ontario and Western Canada that gave the local judoka a challenge they hadn't faced at a provincial tournament in years.

Judo Canada typically has five points events per season in the country.

"That brought out a lot of the best athletes from B.C. to Ontario. It drew a much larger contingent and a much higher quality of athlete too," said Wiens.

The local athletes still managed to earn four medals and posted nine top-five finishes Saturday at the Regina Fieldhouse.

"The athletes themselves have been really beating themselves up. They're so used to doing exceptionally well at in-province tournaments. To have no gold medals coming back from a provincial tournament was quite shocking to a lot of the athletes," said Wiens.

While they did well against some very strong competition, getting the chance to learn from their mistakes doesn't happen all that often for some of these athletes.

"Compared to the level of competition that they're used to seeing, it was nice to see that if these athletes want to compete at this level, they're going to have to put that much more effort into their practice time," said Wiens.

"Even in class (Monday), there was a lot more practical and little less on the technical side for most of the athletes. That seemed to be the biggest advantage these other athletes had over the Moose Jaw athletes on Saturday."

Brooke German won a silver medal in the under-18 female under-70 kg division.

Sara Wiens won bronze in the under-14 female under-48 kg class. Trent Hanson also won bronze in the senior male novice under-73 kg class.

Brian Cook and Jim Wiens finished third in the Goshin Jutsu No Kata and fourth in the Ju No Kata.

Tallissa Edwards was fourth in the under-21 female and fifth in the under-18 female in the under-57 kg. Damien Wiens was fourth in the under-14 male, under-38 kg division.

Edwards, German, Sara Wiens and Damien Wiens are part of the Saskatchewan Judo Team that will take part in the Winnipeg Inner-City Tournament at the end of the month.

Organizations: Saskatchewan Judo Team, Inner-City

Geographic location: Ontario, Western Canada, B.C. Moose Jaw Winnipeg

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