Mr. Huntley from Aberdeen Judo Academy in Kamloops shares his recent experiences while competing and coaching at the World Veteran’s Judo Championships in Abu Dhabi.
Well, where to begin, . . the flight from Kamloops, to Vancouver to Frankfurt to Abu Dhabi was 23 hours going (was supposed to be 21 hours), . .and 32 hours returning (was supposed to be 28 hours),. . .! The extra hours on the flight over was because as we were passing over Greenland, we had a ‘medical emergency’ onboard and had to land in Reykjavik, Iceland, to off-load the patient into a waiting ambulance c/w a medical team and the return trip extension was due to having to de-ice in Frankfurt and in Calgary, . .!
The day prior to Kathy & myself competing, I went camel riding in the desert for an hour (see attachment above) – an interesting activity and a first for me! I was walking somewhat bow-legged afterwards!
The accreditation & weigh-in was a real endurance event for everyone; Kathy was in line from 7AM – 2PM – not having breakfast as she was close to the upper weight limit, and my waiting in line from 2PM – 6:30PM!
As Kathy and I were competing on the same day/same time somewhat, I was not able to coach her (I was accredited as a competitor and as a coach; coaches had to be dressed in street clothes to coach) and therefore had my partner Faouzi Zerrouk take care of her. I coached my two other Aberdeen Judo students Jim Karas (competing for Canada) and Jens Krause (competing for Germany) the next day and then coached Faouzi Zerrouk (competing for Great Britain) the last day of the competition!
All of my four matches were a tough go; my opponents were from Japan, Moldava, Germany and Russia. For the most part they compete on a monthly basis in various countries as opposed to our system here in North America wherein we instruct at clubs/coach, etc. on a weekly basis, . . and they are doing it as a ‘competition sport’ as opposed to a ‘cultural activity’, . . including my Japanese opponent. The Moldavian and Russian competitors are in a ‘monetary reward for winning’ system, . .!
In any event, I lost three matches and won one match, putting me in 4th place.
The two other photos (attachments above) show me immediately after my win; damaged lip/chin and damaged hand, requiring medical intervention during the match, . !
The next day, Jens lost his first match; his opponent lost his next match so that put Jens out of the shiai! Jim lost is first match, won his second match and lost his third match, putting him out of the shiai. Faouzi lost two matches, effectively putting him out of the shiai.
Flight home left Abu Dhabi at 3AM in the morning, necessitating being at the airport at midnight the final day of the shiai; into Frankfurt and changing planes (taking off after de-icing), into Calgary (late – missed connecting flight) and reassigned to a flight into Vancouver as opposed to directly to Kamloops (taking off after de-icing) and then final leg from Vancouver to Kamloops – arriving 4 hours late!
Am still fighting jet-lag, getting over scrapes, bruises, damaged lip & hand, . . hey, a great trip all round!
Next year we go at it again in Spain!