It’s been a fruitful year in judo for Jackson Minnick.
Not far removed from capturing a silver medal at the 2016 B.C. Winter Games in Penticton, the 16-year-old Highlands resident went 3-1 at the Judo Canada national championships in Calgary earlier this month to take a share of the bronze medal in the 81 kilograms-under weight class of the under-18 division.
After losing a close match 5-0 to eventual gold medallist Luka Khatelishvili of Ontario, the Team B.C. member reeled off three straight 10-0 wins. The last came against Travis Mills from Saskatchewan, and saw Minnick win with an armbar, a submission move which often forces the opponent to tap out or risk serious injury.
“I think I was happy with my performance,” the soft-spoken Minnick said of his tournament. It was his first time medalling at a national championship.
The random draw pitted Minnick against Khatelishvili in the opener, which may well have been like the gold medal match. The champ won by a yuko – a minor score in which he threw Minnick onto his side.
“It was a really good experience,” the Victoria Judo Club member said. “But next year I’m going train harder, train smarter and try to win.”
Minnick has another major tournament coming up in July, the U.S. Open in Florida. “It’ll be really tough competition,” he said, “similar to nationals.”
Clubmate Jake Grant also competed at nationals, in the under-16, minus-50kg category. He lost two straight matches.
Langford brothers excel at international event
Over the same weekend in Richmond, Langford’s Isaac Ickovich was busy racking up the medals at the Canada International Martial Arts Festival.
Competing in the black belt division, the 16 year old member of Canada’s Best Karate captured a gold medal in continuous sparring, a silver in point sparring and a bronze in kata, or forms.
Younger brother Ben, 10, who trains out of the Tigon Black Belt Academy, competed in the probationary black belt tae kwon do competition.
He took home a bronze in point sparring and also in forms, or poomse.
Countries from the Far East were well represented as well as Mexico and the United States.