Judo club collects medals

Three members of the Vernon Judo Club pocketed medals in the recent Kootenay Classic Judo Tournament in Salmo.

Devin Dunlop, 15, placed first in his division by defeating a Washington State fighter who had a higher ranking belt. His fights offered crowd-thrilling, non-stop action with his last match going into overtime where Dunlop defeated his opponent at the one-minute mark.

Jessica Dunlop, 11, struck silver in her division, in her first-ever competition. She was the lowest ranking belt in her division and fought four matches, winning one against a girl from Washington State who was three belt-levels higher.

Andy Duffy was able to pull out a bronze medal in the Masters division, fighting against top-level black belts from B.C. and Washington State.

Vernon Judo Club head instructor, George Okazaki accompanied all three competitors as coach. He stated afterwards that that he was, “very proud of his students’ attitude and determination. Winning the medals was just a bonus.”

The Vernon Judo club was formed in 1944 by Mr. Y. Mori, in a time when martial arts were banned in many places and Japanese Canadians even required a special police permit to meet in groups. Vernon is the longest continuously running club in Canada.

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