Call it Judo Central.
But don’t apply the term simply because of the sport and the venue — also consider the quality of the competition.
About 150 judokans will descend on Central Collegiate Saturday for the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club’s annual tournament. Clubs from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are expected to participate.
The timing and location, it appears, are perfect.
“This is one of the last tournaments before the Canada Games and Moose Jaw in kind of in the middle (of the Prairie provinces),” said Koseikan sensei Cliff Wiens. “So, Manitoba is sending some of its team and Alberta is sending some of its team to see how they do against each other. . . . The competition will be quite high calibre.”
Among those sizing up the competition for February’s Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook, Nfld. will be two of Moose Jaw’s own: Stephanie Legault, 13, and Kailey Large, 14.
Also part of the 40-person local contingent will be Mark Pivivor. The SIAST student from Regina has been training with the Koseikan Club, gunning for a berth on the national team. Pivivor was second in his weight class at junior nationals last year.
For youth competitors, strong performances this weekend could help them earn berths on the provincial team for the Western Canada Games at Prince Albert in March.
“All the provincial high-performance athletes from the junior division will be there because the team has a workout here (Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the old Scout Hall on Hochelaga Street East),” said Vern MacDonald of the Koseikan Club.
Provincial coach Ewan Beaton will also be on hand to scout talent.
While the competition will have serious implications for some, it will be the first-ever tournament for others. Action begins at 11 a.m. with five-year-olds leading up to masters in the afternoon. The event is expected to wrap up around 5 p.m.
“If anybody has a bit of an idea they’d like to get into the sport, this will be a great place to see what judo is all about,” said Wiens, noting no admission will be charged.
Saturday’s event will be the first-ever Saskatchewan judo tournament to receive sponsorship, he added. Moose Jaw’s Kirby Duzan, in co-operation with the local Optimist Club and Investors Group Financial Services, has helped secure about $1,200 to cover the cost of medals.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald Feb. 8, 1999