Judo Competitors Face Off at 2020 BC Winter Games

Judo Competitors Face Off at 2020 BC Winter Games

Author: BC Winter Games/Saturday, February 22, 2020/Categories: News, 2020 News, BC Winter Games, 2020 BC Winter Games, Judo

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The competitors are called to the mat, but only one person walks on. They face the empty space across from them, bow, step forward bow again. The ref raises their hand, awarding the match, and the person again bows, and leaves. 

This happens once. Twice. Three times. Finally, after the fourth such bow out, a second figure joins the first on the mat in his blue gi. After a brief flurry of moves, he is pinned; despite his struggling, he is unable to break the hold, and after a count to ten, his opponent is awarded the match. 

A few more people bow out, then the two teams face each other. Eight competitors on one side, one on the other. His name is Chad Shorter, and he is the lone member of the Judo Team from Zone 7. 

Today is the team event, where eight members from each zone face off against another zone, and the team that wins the most matches wins. 

Coach Luke Moisey says the point of today wasn't to win, but just to get some more time on the mat. 

"Even though he's the only one competing, every minute, every second on the mat counts," says Moisey. "It doesn't matter if you are not going to progress, it’s for fun, it's not for medals, there's no shame in losing."

Shorter says he got into Judo after being inspired by his father, a wrestler. "Al Gautier, one of my other coaches, said to my dad that there was a judo club."

That was three years ago, and Shorter has been going ever since. In that time, he's progressed to his green belt.

"I just got promoted three weeks ago," he says. Shorter is a part of the Smither's club, which has been around since 1954, and is the only club in the Northwest. 

Shorter will frequently travel the four hours into Prince George to train there, but the BC Winter Games is his first major competition, other than the qualifiers in Abbotsford and Kamloops. "This is my first year doing competitions," he says. "For my first match yesterday I was getting nervous," he says, "But my dad and all my coaches say, 'close your eyes and think the match through. Imagine what's going to happen. And you just think it all the way through to the bow, and then hopefully you win."

With a gym full of athletes and spectators to cheer them on, Zone 5 ended up taking home the gold medal, with Zone 4 following at a close second.

Congratulations to all the Judo athletes who gave it their all on the mat in the 2020 games! 

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