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Abbotsford Judo has 10 athletes, two coaches and an official attending BC Winter Games

The club makes up majority of the Fraser Valley zone three team at the amateur sporting event
Back row (from left): Carter Harris, Harsaya Khosa, Jaxon Simpson, Rohin Litt, Jude Torenvliet and Erin Christen. Bottom row: Mark Kotliarenko (left) and Ashton Dunn. Missing are Gabe Wiebe, Dominik Maple, Leo Ji, Kaleb Christen and Turner Cyr. (Ryleigh Mulvihill/Abbotsford News)

The 10 athletes representing Abbotsford Judo Club all agree that the 2024 BC Winter Games in Lhtako Quesnel is the biggest competition they will have taken part of in their young careers to date.

All 12 or 13 years old, Jaxon Simpson, Ashton Dunn, Jude Torenvliet, Rohin Litt, Gabe Wiebe, Dominik Maple, Leo Ji and Mark Kotliarenko will compete in the male weight classes. Erin Christen and Harsaya Khosa will compete in the female weight classes.

“In terms of skill this is the biggest competition I have ever been to,” Litt said. “This is the first multi-sport event I have gone to besides pure judo tournaments. It will be a good experience.”

While the athletes have a goal to do their best and earn a spot on the podium, they also recognize what a great opportunity the competition is to further immerse themselves into the sport.

“I can’t wait to meet people from across the province,” Christen said.

It is a family affair for the Christen family since Erin’s brother, Kaleb, will be an assistant coach at the Games.

Abbotsford Judo coach Carter Harris will be the head coach for zone three. Harris attended the 2023 BC Winter Games as an assistant coach. He can’t wait for his own students to experience the tournament alongside him.

He is also looking forward to coaching other athletes from the Fraser Valley region.

“I hope I can be a good coach for everybody because every athlete is different,” Harris said.

Turner Cyr, a black belt from the club, will be an official at the Games.

Judo athletes will compete at Lakeview Elementary in Quesnel.

The competition will feature athletes born between 2009 and 2012 who have a minimum ranking of 4th kyu (orange belt). Athletes also had to compile six points between the 2023 Youth Provincials and trials in November to be eligible.

The games run from Feb. 22 to 25.

About the Author: Ryleigh Mulvihill

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