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Creston Judo Club throws above its weight

Spring has also brought on a burst of activity at the Creston Judo Club
Athletes that attended the Okanagan Open and Edmonton International Judo Championship with one of our sponsors - Interior Brewery Workers Union Local 308. Back row: Sensei Laura Knudsen, Thomas Saby, Evan Felitsyn, Olexa Felitsyn, Elisha Moore, Elijah Bayley, Dalan Lagare (from Interior Brewery Workers Union Local 308). Front row, left to right: Damien Sandoval, Kaitlyn Sandoval, Aspen Comer, Tiang Tanapima, Lani Tanapima, Lucien Beaton. (Submitted)

From Creston Judo Club

Since last fall, the judokas and their senseis at Creston Judo Club have been busy on and off the mats.

The Post Turkey Throwdown Showdown and Pre-Reindeer Rumble, two in-house tournaments, were a fun time for all involved. Judokas continuously worked on learning and perfecting throw and hold-down techniques. With these tournaments, they had the opportunity to utilize use these moves in a competition setting.

Two Creston Judo Club alumni, Brae Booth and Kaeden Rendeck, both accomplished judo black belts, were able to come to share their skills and knowledge in a practice session with other students.

There have been some disappointments too. The 2022 BC Winter Games that several of the judokas had spent months and months training for were postponed mere weeks beforehand. Though disappointed, these judokas continued training, which later paid off.

A training session hosted by the Invermere Judo Club in February provided the first opportunity in almost two years for seven judokas and Sensei Laura Knudsen to practice with others outside the local club.

Spring has also brought on a burst of activity at the Creston Judo Club.

What had been a sparse competition season was made up by two tournaments in April. Sensei Laura and nine judokas made the trek to attend a practice competition in Kelowna. The Okanagan Open was a fun and friendly tournament that included over 70 athletes from 17 clubs around the province. Not only were judokas competing in matches, some also had the opportunity to practice refereeing. The tournament ended with medals and candy for all the participants.

The Edmonton International Judo Championship followed closely behind the Okanagan Open. Three Creston judokas accompanied by Sensei Laura, along with over 900 other judoka from across Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan descended at West Edmonton Mall to participate in Canada’s largest judo tournament. It was a first tournament for Kaitlyn Sandoval and Tiang Tanapima, and Elijah Bayley’s second tournament. All three had impressive performances with podium finishes. Kaitlyn netted bronze, Elijah earned silver, and Tiang finished with gold.

The Creston Judo Club has been fortunate to have sponsors that have been pivotal in helping our judokas shine at these tournaments. Thank you to Interior Brewery Workers Union Local 308, Canfor, and Pealow’s. Thanks also to all that have supported us through the annual cash calendar and bottle fundraisers.

What’s next for the Creston Judo Club? Sensei Laura is attending her black belt certification this June. The entire club will be rooting for her and look forward to celebrating with her.

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