Montreal, May 2, 2017 – The excitement surrounding the Canadian Open Judo Championships, to be held in Calgary from May 24 to 28, can already be felt throughout the city. The three organizing clubs—Hiro’s Judo Club, Airdrie Judo Club, and Ishi Yama Judo Club—are thrilled to be hosting the prestigious tournament for the second year in a row.
“Calgary has a very strong judo community and we’re really happy to be able to show the rest of the country how important the sport is to our city. We’re also extremely pleased to know that we’ll be hosting the nationals again in 2018,” stated the Airdrie Judo Club’s head coach, Paul Hachey.
Having played host to judokas from all over the country in 2016, the organizers know exactly what to expect this year. “It’s going to be an even bigger event than last year’s. Of course, there are always challenges, no matter what kind of event you organize; the important thing is to make sure no one can tell once they’re here,” explained Sensei George Tesanovic, president of the Ishi Yama Judo Club.
For the organizers, the key to the event’s success is the teamwork of the dojos and their shared desire to host a great tournament.
“Calgary’s clubs work very hard together to organize the event,” noted Sensei Allan Sattin of Hiro’s Judo Club. “It’s a great example of cooperation for our students. Volunteers from all over Alberta come out to help. It’s really impressive.”
Benefits to the Judo Community…and to the City!
Calgary’s local judo clubs have already benefited from the Canadian Open Championships, which were held in the city in 2016. The presence of several of the country’s best judokas inspired a number of young people.
“The impact on our club members was notable. Regardless of how far they’d come in the sport, they were exposed to high-level judo during the Championships. It also provided exposure for the sport all over the city and introduced it to people who were not familiar with it,” claimed Hachey.
Hosting Canada’s largest judo tournament several years in a row also helps with recruitment. “We saw a difference. Many people in the city were already interested in judo, but the word has now gotten around even more. The more people hear about judo, the more it piques their curiosity, especially if they don’t practice the sport,” added Tesanovic.
In addition to the positive impact of the Canadian Open Championships on Alberta’s judo community, the event brought a large number of visitors to Calgary.
“There was a significant economic impact on the non-judo community. All those visitors to the city and to the Rockies had an enormous impact on the region. They needed places to stay, places to eat. It was very good for local businesses,” said Hachey.
Beyond the technical aspects of the sport, the Championships were also the scene of memorable moments that will stay with the judokas for a very long time. Calgary’s clubs are pleased to help young athletes aspire to the highest pinnacles of their sport.
Paul Hachey won’t forget his 2016 reunion with his former protégé. “One of my former students, whom I had taught from the age of seven, now trains at the National Training Center in Montreal. His name is Darren Elcock and he was crowned in the senior division Canadian Champion at least year’s event, in front of his former teammates and everyone from the club. It was a great moment,” he recalled.
Elcock will have another chance to impress his former coach and the young people of his hometown, as he’ll be returning to the tatamis to defend his title this year.
George Tesanovic also has wonderful memories of last year’s event, where his daughter won a U16 national title in front of her family and friends. He couldn’t contain his emotion as he remembered watching his daughter climb to the top of the podium.
“She’ll have the chance to do it again this year. I’d love to see her win the U18 title. It would make the whole province, and her father, so proud,” he admitted.
Final preparations are currently underway and the three host clubs will be more than ready to welcome the 800+ athletes who will descend on Calgary’s Olympic Oval from May 24 to 28.
“It’s our second year, which means that we’re even more organized than last year. Things should run even more smoothly. So just imagine next year! With two years under our belts, we’ll be ready for anything!”
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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