Haley Henry holds down her opponent for Ippon or the win.

Judo competitors mine medals

The Vancouver Island Judo team was the biggest team Zone Six has ever taken to the BC Winter Games.

The BC Games are high profile competitive opportunities for sport.

In the sport of Judo the BC Winter Games feature athletes ages 14-16 who compete in various weight classes. In this year’s games in Mission, the Vancouver Island Judo team was the biggest team Zone Six has ever taken to the BC Winter Games.

“There were 21 competitors with five of them coming from Campbell River,” said Leah Tremain, assistant coach.

It was the biggest team in the Island’s competition history and it was the biggest zone Judo team in all of BC.

“It’s a reflection of how strong Judo is as a sport on the island and how united Judo is as an island community,” Tremain said.

The Campbell River contingent came home with many medals. Haley Henry, in 57 kg brought home silver; Emile Matkovich, 70 kg brought home bronze; Kelsey Painter in +70kg brought home gold. Jake Misky also competed and fought hard. He, along with the whole zone six team, came home with sliver. “The team competition on day two was very intense – our island team came home with sliver – and it was very close – the gold medal team didn’t win by one point, or even a quarter of a point but by a judges decision,” said Tremain.

Kelsey Painter, Campbell River’s gold medalist in individual competition, said, “competing at the games made me feel a little pressured because being on the island team I didn’t compete to just represent myself but the whole island.”

Tremain also had her pressures, “I was asked to the games as an assistant coach – it was a development position and I was nervous having never helped in this way but I felt I had to step-up and try.”

This courage was amply rewarded. Painter says, “it was the most fun, amazing incredible experience I have ever had.”

Tremain reflected those thoughts, “I couldn’t have anticipated how rewarding it turned out to be – and it was all because of our seasoned island coaches and our island team. They were truly inspiring.”

The Games have contributed to many athletes moving on to national competitions.

“I look forward to seeing where this crop of competitors will go in the future,” Tremain concluded.