Judokas heading to Atlantics

February 22 was a big day at the Port Hawkesbury Judo Club as three judoka were awarded orange belts. Seen here are (from left) sensei Wayne Reynolds; newly-minted orange belts Kaleb Matheson, Raya Matheson, and Matthew Cavanagh; and sensei Elliotte Reynolds.

PORT HAWKESBURY: With new mats under their feet, new belts around their waists, and a trip to Judo Atlantics just a few weeks away, things are rolling along very nicely at the Port Hawkesbury Judo Club.

“The kids are having fun, and we have fun helping them have fun,” said sensei Wayne Reynolds, who coaches the club along with his son, Elliotte.

On February 22, Reynolds awarded members Kaleb Matheson, Raya Matheson, and Matthew Cavanagh orange belts. The Mathesons and Cavanagh are three of over 20 youths training at the club, which has expanded in both class size and class frequency.

The club meets twice weekly, every Tuesday and Thursday, upstairs at the Strait Area Community Curling Club building on MacQuarrie Drive Ext. Each class is now 90 minutes. In days gone by, the club met only once a week.

“The numbers are way up,” Reynolds said. “Last Tuesday [February 27] we had three join so we had 25 on the mats. That’s an outstanding number.”

On the subject of mats, the club recently purchased new ones to help absorb the falls every Judoka faces. The new mats were shipped from Montreal, and Reynolds said the parents of the Judokas deserve a great amount of credit for their fundraising.

Indeed, with the number of kids on the rise, Reynolds said that he and Elliotte would love to see some other Judo experts come out to help with the coaching. The door is open to all, he said.

The level of training the kids receive, Reynolds said, has them nearly ready for a big trip to Summerside, PEI, on March 30.

“Their technique is improving, and we’re almost ready for the Atlantics,” he said. “I can probably get 10 to go, which is a good number.

“We had some medals from provincials and we expect nothing less from the Atlantics. The kids are chatting it up in the club about the trip, and parents are getting excited too. This will be a big one.”

At provincials, Reid Matheson took a gold medal. Silver was won by Larissa LeMoine, Josh LeMoine, Elliott Cook, Kayla LeMoine, Michelle Currie, John Langley, and Ben MacPherson. Taking bronze were Liam Campbell, Kaleb Matheson, and Raya Matheson.