Ask Brandon Jobb to recall his first trip to the Junior World Judo Championships, and the 18-year-old Abbotsford athlete breaks into a sheepish grin.
Last year, Jobb represented Canada at the World Juniors in Morocco, but was eliminated in the first round by an opponent from Germany.
"It was a long way to travel for one fight," Jobb recalled with a chuckle. "It was only about a minute and half, and he completely out-muscled me."
Jobb punched a return ticket to the Junior Worlds last week, winning his third consecutive Canadian junior national title in Sept-Iles, Que. He went undefeated in five matches en route to the gold in the under-81 kilogram weight class.
In October, he'll fly to South Africa for his second crack at the Junior Worlds, and he believes he's poised for bigger things this time around.
"I've gotten a lot better over the last year," he said. "I've done a lot of weight training, and I have more experience from fighting at different national training camps across Canada.
"If I can win a few matches, that would be great. But if I had a chance to go to the medal round, that would be unbelievable."
Jobb was one of two Abbotsford Judo Club athletes to climb the podium at junior nationals. Tyler Wakita won a silver medal in the under-73 kg division.
Jobb, who recently graduated from Yale Secondary, will continue to train at the local club as he begins his studies at the University of the Fraser Valley this fall.
"I'm not sure how far judo will take me, since the funding isn't always there," said Jobb, who harbours dreams of one day representing Canada at the Olympics. "But I'm definitely going to try to go as far as I can."
Jobb is also a standout rugby player – he played a starring role for a Yale Lions squad that finished sixth at AAA provincials last season. He's currently mulling over whether or not to continue with the sport.
"I want to, but my judo coaches don't like it at all," he said with a chuckle. "But I really love the game, and I'm thinking of playing for Abbotsford (rugby club) in the fall when the season starts again."