Brandon Jobb, currently pondering whether or not to go all-in with his judo career, received some encouragement in that department recently.
The 19-year-old Abbotsford native won a bronze medal at the prestigious European Cup junior tournament in Coimbra, Portugal, battling back through the repechage after a second-round loss to earn the podium finish.
“Going into the tournament I was really feeling confident,” said Jobb, who fights in the minus-90 kilogram category. “That’s important to me – I went to the world junior championships (in October 2012), and I wasn’t as confident going in.
“Up at this level, if you’re not ready to go, you’re not going to fight as well. But I came prepared, I was ready to go when the day came, and I just fought well.”
Jobb’s confidence was buoyed by a two-week stint at the national judo training centre in Montreal in early March, where he was surrounded by Olympic medallists. He was under the tutelage of national team head coach Nicolas Gill, a bronze medallist in Barcelona in 1992 and a silver medallist in Sydney in 2000, and worked alongside Antoine Valois-Fortier, a bronze medal winner at the 2012 London Games.
“I find I can draw some motivation just being around them,” Jobb said. “The first time I went there, I was kind of star-struck – I’m seeing these guys in person. But now that I get to know them, they’re just regular guys. They’re trying to help me get better, and I’m taking everything I can from them.”
Jobb, a kinesiology student at University of the Fraser Valley, is weighing whether or not to transfer to McGill or Concordia universities in Montreal in order to join the national training centre full-time. The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro would be the ultimate goal.
“If I want to keep going, I’ve got to get to Montreal,” Jobb said, noting that he’ll need to make a decision by the summer. “I can fight nationally, but internationally, I wouldn’t be good enough if I stayed here.
“I’m thinking I’m going to do it. I don’t really want to just live the normal life. If I can travel the world and do judo, why not, right?”
Tokue Suda, chief instructor at the Abbotsford Judo Club, said that Jobb’s success is a great inspiration to the younger athletes.
“He showed up at a practice last night and told some stories,” Suda said. “Those 13- and 14-year-olds, their eyes were wide. They really look up to him – he’s a good role model.”
JUDO CLUB EXCELS IN EDMONTON
The Abbotsford Judo Club also put nine athletes on the podium at the Edmonton International meet earlier this month.
Gold medallists included Austin Edwardson (U9), Jordan MacFarlane (U11), Shane Fowlstone (U11), Byron Edwardson (U13), Mitchell Wolfe (U15), Simren Brar (U18), Jeff Swadden (U18) and Tim Beardall (senior). Connor Slooyer (U15) earned a bronze medal.