Re-printed with the permission of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald
Skills competition a hit on final day of judo
For the first time in the Saskatchewan Winter Games, a judo skills element to show off the athletes' technique was part of the competition.

It was mandatory for all athletes entered in the individual competition and took place at Vanier Collegiate on Wednesday. Each athlete had to complete four techniques with a partner.

Jim Wiens, chairman of judo for the Saskatchewan Winter Games, said he was pleased to see the skills element in the competition.

"It's the first Saskatchewan Games we have included a team competition and a skills competition. Every other Games has just been individual.

"It took a little bit more planning and pre-work but they came together very nicely.

"The bulk of judo in Saskatchewan has been very focused over the last decade on one-to-one competition and really not given a lot of attention to the Kata, which is the prearranged forms."

Wiens said it was great for kids who may not excel as a competitor to get involved as the skills competition is another way for them to succeed.

Garth Rivers, South West coach, said it was great to see the skills element in the competition and that it needed to be expanded.

"It shows more of the technical side of judo instead of the aggressive and competitive side. It shows the control and perfect form of the techniques," he said.

Rivers said South West athletes had been working hard for the skills competition.

"I think it's really good to have in the competition," he said, "It's better for the sport.

"It shows there's a lot more to it than just taking a guy down."

Kenadee Thompson, 13, a blue belt from Regina, said she enjoyed taking part in the competition. She won a silver medal in the female over-50kg division.

"I like it because it gives you a lot of adrenaline," she said.

"It shows people what you have got. I was nervous because I was the first one up but once I got out there, it was pretty good."

Brianna Waltz, 12, representing the South West region, also admitted she was nervous - but she too won a medal, bronze in the female under-50kg category.

"It's all so quiet and people are concentrating on only you but it helps there's not just one group going at at time. "I found it fun. I thought I did really well because I practised hard," she said.

Elijah Fiszterer, 12, from Regina, said he felt he could do some more work on his Hari-goshi (sweeping hip throw) move. He still won a bronze medal in the male under 40kg category.

"I enjoyed the skills competition," he said, "even though it was really short."

Haley Walz, 14, who won a gold medal for South West in the female over 50kg category, said she was pleased afet winning a pair of gold and a silver.

"I'm trying to train to go to the Canada Games. It's in 2011. It's my ambition for right now."

Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald February 18, 2010

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