A trio of Surrey-area judo athletes are among the best in Canada in their weight classes after being selected to compete in the 2022 Elite Nationals tournament in Edmonton.
The kids also “play up” — to borrow a hockey term – as they compete against older competitors at the U18 level, despite being a few years younger.
Cloverdale’s Lowan Le Bris (13), Surrey’s Peter Velonas (15), and Delta’s Isaiah Gill (16) all compete in U18—Le Bris and Velonas in the under 55 kg weight class and Gill in under 66 kgs.
“These kids all did well in two different tournaments to qualify,” said Jeremy Le Bris, head coach for Judo B.C., and father to Lowan. “One was in Montreal and one was in Richmond.”
Le Bris said participation in the Elite Nationals tournament is by selection only as Judo Canada invites the top eight athletes per weight division.
And although the tournament was recently postponed because of COVID, Le Bris is confident it will proceed at some point.
“I think these three could medal at nationals,” said Le Bris. “The two tournaments, Quebec and Richmond, were very high level. Nationals is an ‘elite eight’ tournament, so the athletes that compete are already in the top eight in Canada for each division.”
Le Bris said after the two tournaments Judo Canada ranked athletes across the country to come up with the top eight for nationals.
Le Bris also said the three kids are fighting at the top of their game and they have the potential to accomplish a lot more in judo as they grow and move up to different weight classes.
The three practice at the Abbotsford Judo Club.
“I made the Abbotsford Judo Club the provincial training centre,” noted Le Bris. “We have all the high-level athletes training there. A lot of athletes from the Abbotsford club were selected to the elite eight this year.”
He said the kids are kind of in a holding pattern for the time being. They will continue to train about four to five times per week while they wait for the Elite Eight tournament to be rescheduled.
More tournaments await the winners and possibly a tour of Europe with Team B.C. for the world championships.
“That’s the next step.”
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