HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L.
Three young men from Happy Valley-Goose Bay will be competing in the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer this February.
Tyler Russell, Nolan Walsh and Joshua Blake will be competing in judo as part of Team Newfoundland and Labrador.
The trio, who train at the Goose Bay Judo Club, have all been in judo for close on a decade and say they’re really excited to compete in the Winter Games.
“We worked hard for it,” Walsh said. “When I heard my name called it felt really good.”
All three have competed nationally before but this is the hardest team to make, they said, and a person is only eligible once. They were identified by the Newfoundland and Labrador Judo Association about two years ago as possible competitors and have been training for it ever since.
Russell said he’s excited to compete against athletes from the other provinces and to learn from them.
The coaches at the local club are the reason they’ve managed to make it so far, they said.
“It was because of them I started competing,” Walsh said. “If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here right now.”
Blake’s father, Colin Jacobs, is one of the coaches. He said Jacobs has helped him immensely.
“He’s helped me through a lot of this,” Blake said. “He’s helped me become a better fighter.”
The trio brought up respect a few times as one of the main things they’ve learned from judo, respect for themselves and for others.
Mike Montague, one of the instructors at the club, said respect is a big part of judo and all of the instructors work hard to teach the students that.
Montague said the club has had competitors travel to every Canada Winter Games since the club was formed in 1976.
All three local athletes have been training hard for the upcoming Winer Games, and he’s very proud they made the team.
“They’re going to do well,” Montague said. “They put a lot of work into it and they deserve to be on the team.”
Montague said he would also like to acknowledge the commitment of the parents of the young athletes as well, both in terms of time and the cost involved.
The Canada Winter Games will begin in Red Deer on Feb. 15 and continue until March 3.