The Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club played the roll of bridesmaid when it came to the Judo Saskatchewan awards in Watrous recently.
The local club was runner-up for three provincial honours, as Jeremy Williams finished second in balloting for Junior Male Athlete of the Year, Jim Wiens runner-up for Senior Athlete of the Year and Michelle Wiens runner-up as Volunteer of the Year.
While it would have been an honour to pick up one of the awards, Koseikan instructor Jim Wiens wasn't overly disappointed with the shut-out especially in light of who the award winners were.
"To tell you the truth I was very surprised to see that I was up for Master's athlete when I only fought in one tournament, and that was the one here," Wiens said with a chuckle before acknowledging that the honour was likely just as much for his return to the sport after a devastating ankle injury. "But the guy who won it, Darryl Potts (Watrous), he could have won the most improved award, too, he had a great year."
Williams - a bronze medalist at the 2004 national championships - lost out to national gold medalist Daniel Irvine of Prince Albert, while Michelle Wiens finished second to Swift Current's Cheryl Westbury, who handles the books for Judo Sask.
While the banquet marked the end of the season on the provincial scene, there's still plenty of action on the horizon, culminating with the 2005 National tournament May 22-23 in St. John's, Nfld.
The provincial team, including senior competitors Jeremy Williams, Josh Wiens and Dave Guthrie, will hold their final tune-up for the tournament Saturday at the local club, with training sessions running from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
"It's going to be their last big work out, with final corrections and bits of advice from (provincial coach) Fedor (Lazarenko) about what they should be doing," Wiens said, adding that a fourth-degree black belt who's from Japan and currently an exchange student in Regina will also be on hand for training.
A steak night in support of the three local competitors will also be held Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Park Hotel, looking to off-set the $1,000-plus the trip is expected to cost each fighter.
"We're hoping we'll put a really good dent in it," Wiens said. "There have already been a lot tickets sold so we're hoping it's really well supported."
Extra Throws . . . Koseikan will hold their annual awards banquet May 13 at the Eagles Club, with Scott Schultz of the Saskatchewan Roughriders the guest speaker.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald May 4, 2005