Canada Day was no holiday for Chad Griffin.
While most people were celebrating and taking it easy, the 15-year-old Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club competitor was busy training hard for the Junior Canadian Judo Championships in Mississauga, Ont.
Griffin did 100 burpees and finished each with a chin-up as part of his final training session before making his first trip to nationals.
"The season ended for the seniors in the middle of May, so Chad's been working really hard by himself with a couple of other guys supporting him," said Koseikan coach Dan Orescanin. "We've been going a couple times a week in the gym doing judo, but he's also been running and lifting weights on his own.
"He's been going really hard."
Coach Garth Rivers has also been attending practice along with club mate Adam Langdon, who has provided a consistent training partner.
"I've been doing cardio and trying to lose weight to make my weight division," said Griffin.
He will be an under-51 kilogram competitor and with three days before competition starts, he still has a kilo to lose. He's been keeping a close eye on his diet as he prepares for the competition which runs July 5-7.
Griffin is keeping his goals modest heading to his first nationals - he simply wants to win a fight.
"I'm not looking to get gold or anything," said Griffin. He doesn't know what to expect beyond a field full of "tough and fit guys."
Griffin attended the Edmonton International Judo tournament earlier this year but was sick during the competition and didn't fare very well. By getting some matches in and watching some high-level competition he has a better sense of what may be in store at nationals.
"I didn't do well there, but that was a good competition. It's going to be just like nationals," he said. "I watched what they did in matches."
Orescanin feels Griffin should be competitive, but much will depend on how he settles into the nationals experience.
"I think he's got a shot," said Orescanin. "Certainly in this last month, with all of the strength training and conditioning he has done, he has gotten a lot stronger. He's already at the top of the weight class so that's really good for him.
"I think if he can get over the mental aspect of it - sort of the 'wow factor' of being in a big tournament like that - I think he'll do well. He'll definitely be competitive."
Orescanin said that no matter what happens at nationals, the work Griffin has put in has him as well-prepared as can be.
"The main thing I stressed to him is that he's going to be the best he's been all year," said Orescanin. "He's going to be in his top form. He's done everything he can do. So if he doesn't win, it's not going to because he's out of shape or anything. It's going to be because he got beat."
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald July 2, 2008