On April 1-3, some of the judo athletes from Canada and beyond gathered at the West Edmonton Mall to take part in the Edmonton International Judo Championships. Among the over 600 athletes who went to the event were Emma and Graham Norquay who are members of the Invermere Judo Club.
Emma, who is 10-years-old, and her brother Graham, who is eight, had a great tournament. Emma won the bronze in the under-32 kg. category while Graham won the gold in the under-23 kg. category.
Ron Norquay is the father of Emma and Graham. He felt this event gave his children the chance to be a part of a great learning experience.
“It was a little overwhelming. It was such a large event. They got to see a lot of adults and older kids with black belts. On the Saturday there was a training session where there were about 100 black belts training. It was impressive,” Ron said.
“I am very proud. It is exciting but hard to be on the sidelines and watching it. It is very rewarding to see them enjoy it. They do this for the love of the sport. It is not about winning but about competing,”
As for Graham, he was happy about his win. He explained he was confident that he could get a medal going to the tournament in Edmonton but did not think it was going to be gold.
“I was very excited when I won. I jumped up and down.”
Graham also spoke of why he takes part in the sport.
“It is a fun sport. You really get active and get out there and have fun. I get to do a lot of stuff that I normally don’t get to do in school or at home,”
Learning all the moves and getting to take part in a sport with his mother and sister is also something Graham enjoys along with learning the throws.
His father said that the way the club is run and the great way all of the coaches work with the students is something that is a credit to the group.
As for their styles on the mat, Ron sees something different in his children.
“It is all about the mind for her. She uses her mind to do specific throws. Graham is more aggressive and does it at all costs. Emma is like a chess game while Graham is in the more physical end of it.”
Graham, who looks very intense while competing, said he just thinks about what his next move will be when he is on the mat. “How I am going to figure out my strategy is what I do,” he said.
He was also very quick to say how much he likes working with his coaches at the club who make it enjoyable to be a part of. “They are really fun,” he said.