Judo competition at the 1998 Saskatchewan games began Monday with an opening ceremony befitting a first-rate competition.
The Nipawin Evergreen Centree auditorium was alive with the spirit of the games and an aura of zone pride and sportsmanship.
Dignitaries present for the ceremonies were Dan Poulin (sports director for the judo competition), Ewan Beaton (Judo Saskatchewan representative),Brian Kaukinen (president of event sponsor Sask Water), Margery McDougall (representing the Saskatchewan Games Council), Gay Renouf (judo official) and Nipawin Ald. Ken Snaith.
Doug Schwerin was master of ceremonies.
As the athletes parade entered the auditorium, the hope for gold was evident on each participant's face. The spirit of the games was alive in their cheers. The many hours of preparation would soon be put to the test.
One by one, each delegate wished the judo athletes good luck and fair and sportsmanlike competition. The young athletes stood single file around the mat as the delegate spoke -- ready to take on the challenge, the quest for a medal.
The pride of parents, coaches and friends was apparent, and, after last-minute pep talks and votes of confidence, the matches were under way.
Day 1 of the judo competition consisted of five classes -- men under 40 kilograms, 43 kg and 46 kg and women under 40 kilograms, and 44 kg.
When the matches were complete, results were as follows:
In the men's under 40 kg class, the gold was awarded to Logan Thiessen of Swift Current Zone 3; the silver to Graham Palmer of Martensville Zone 5; and the bronze to Lloydminster's Marc Beausoleil of Zone 7.
The gold in the men's under 43 kg class went to Landon Thiessen of Swift Current Zone 3; the silver to La Ronge's Daniel Irvine of Zone 8; and the bronze to Robert Cassell of Regina Zone 2.
Moose Jaw's Glen Cullen of Zone 3 won gold in the under 46 kg class; Max Wawryk of Saskatoon Zone 6 took the silver and Tyler Pellegrini of Prince Albert Zone 8 took bronze.
In the women's under 40 kg class, the gold went to Amanda Kloschinsky of Swift Current Zone 3; the silver to Kendal's Rebecca Nielsen of Zone 1; and the bronze to Sandra Gervais of Lloydminster Zone 7.
The final class of the day was the women's under-44 kg and the gold medal went to Moose Jaw's Stephanie Legault of Zone 3, the only competitor. Zone 3 was the big winner of the day in judo with a total of five medals.
Today's judo events should prove as exciting as Monday's.
Judo competitions include men under 50 kg, men under 54 kg, men under 59 kg, women under 48 kg, women under 52 kg and women under 56 kg. The day's matches begin at 10 a.m. at the Nipawin Evergreen Centre.
Appeared in the Nipawin Journal, February 24, 1998