as posted by Snap'd Etobicoke
The May long weekend turned out to be a truly special weekend for the Art of Balance Dojo in Etobicoke, Ontario. Five athletes went to the National Championships, lead by their head coach, Joshua Hagen. The tournament took place in Edmonton, Alberta and had more than 1,200 athletes competing for the National Title.
On May 19, Mason McMurray-Ramsay made it into the quarter-finals of the under 18 age bracket. “Although he didn’t come away with a medal, a 9th place finish in a very tough division is a huge step in the right direction” says his sensei Josh Hagen.
Ron Hanji came frustratingly close to a medal on Saturday making it to the semi-finals before narrowly losing his bronze medal match. “As a 17-year-old, he put on a pretty impressive performance in both the U21 and senior divisions, winning one match in a mere 4 seconds! I know he’s not happy with his results in the end, but he has shown time and time again his ability to performance at the highest level. I expect a better result when we return next spring” Hagen said.
“Shahab Pesteh had the type of performance we have seen bubbling at the surface for some time now in taking his Bronze medal”. He showed off his great throwing ability throughout the day, and was even at one point winning against his opponent in his only loss. With more of these results on the way, you can expect to see him at some major international events in the near future.
Josephine Morgenroth, who is a full-time PhD student in addition to being active in the judo world, also took a bronze medal over the weekend. “Josi only started training with us in September, and she had a very tough season, but I knew she was capable of having a breakout type of day. As a more confident fighter, I know we will see a lot more medals from her next season.”
Solomon Choran had the type of weekend that many young judoka (students of judo) can only dream of. Solomon had five national 5th place finishes before this weekend, but he finally got the monkey off of his back in a big way. In his under 21 division, he lost a match in the semi-final that he led most of the way, but bounced back to easily secure the bronze medal. In the senior division Solomon more than redeemed himself by smashing his opponent in the semi-final, and taking a silver medal. After the completion of the event, Judo Canada awarded Solomon with his Shodan, black belt, for “truly outstanding performance at a National Championships”. Coach Joshua Hagen could not be more proud of student Solomon saying, “Solomon started training with me about 7 years ago, I have seen him grow in a lot of ways over the years, and it’s pretty gratifying to see him cement himself as one of the top fighters in this country.”