by Daniel Liebe
Visit the Abbotsford Judo Club, and you’ll notice that optimism and confidence run within its walls – literally.
The walls are covered with photos and plaques celebrating the club's many victories and accomplishments over the decades. From the looks of it, they only have more to gain at the upcoming BC Winter Games, which will be held in Mission in February 2014.
Among the club's BC Games hopefuls are Simren Brar, Brayden Cryer, Mitchell Wolfe and Leo Goldberg.
Brar, 15, already has one BC Games under his belt – he competed in Vernon in 2012. At the Canadian championships in July, he won a bronze medal in the U18 under-46 kg class, and he'll be looking to climb the podium again in Mission.
Wolfe, 14, is aiming to compete internationally in judo one day, and the BC Games are a step in the right direction. Reflecting on how he prepares mentally for competition, Wolfe said he likes to zone out and listen to music.
Cryer is an ambitious young athlete – when asked about what future events he’d like to participate in, he responded “Can I say the Olympics?"
Goldberg, a 14-year-old who won a national gold medal in the U15 under-50 kg class earlier this year, is one of the Abbotsford club's young phenoms. “When I’m 15, I’d like to go to cadet nationals,” he said, reflecting on his short-term ambitions.
Tokue Suda, head instructor at the Abbotsford Judo Club, spoke highly of the BC Games as a stepping-stone event for his athletes.
“BC Winter Games is only a small scale down from the Canada Winter Games," he said, noting that for some participants, the road can lead all the way to the Olympics.