Submitted by Jeanette Riches

Head Sensei of Invermere Judo Club

What does judo teach you? Sportsmanship, mastery of one’s self, patience and perseverance. 

And what better way to evaluate one’s self than during the BC Winter Games.

This year’s games were hosted in Quesnel and Zone 1 Kootenays (judo) was able to prepare five athletes from Creston and Invermere for the competition.

One of the Creston athletes, Noah Watson, experienced a broken foot while training for the games and was unable to travel with the team. The team’s sole early bloomer Konnor Cavanagh from Invermere took on the challenge this year of training and competing above his regular age bracket. 

Although Konnor didn’t bring home any metals, his teammates and coaches beamed with pride over his strong and determined performance on the mats and his team spirit off the mats. 

The other athletes hailed from Creston: Tiang Tanapima, Elisha Moore and Kaitlyn Sandoval travelled together for a second time building up the Kootenay tiny but mighty team. Tiang had one of the largest weight divisions, leaving no room for error. Tiang sadly finished the two days of the tournament with no metals after double elimination rounds. Elisha and Kaitlyn are both coming home with silver metals in the individual tournament. These young ladies worked amazingly hard all weekend to be the best versions of themselves. 

Everyone knows losing is hard, but we sometimes forget the burden to win with grace. These amazing young people showed maturity to grow and be anything they desire. 

Judo BC encourages mentorship for up and coming coaches and Zone 1 Kootenays was privileged to have two junior coaches on our roster. Cassia Riches stepped up to coach the girls team and Lenni Stich coached for the boys team. Both of these young adults rose to the challenge and radiated perfection, sharing there past experiences, participating in warm ups, and motivating the athletes with helpful competition tips. Lenni and Cassia were invaluable in helping Creston head coach Sensei Laura Knudsen from beginning to end. 

No matter where life takes these two young adults they will always be welcome on any team I coordinate.