Combatants fight for their silver medals

Games: Judo, wrestler finish second

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014 06:00 am

Okotoks’ Max Brown (right) throws Isaac Pulliam at the Alberta Winter Games in Canmore last weekend. Brown won the bronze medal at boys under 40kg division.
Okotoks’ Max Brown (right) throws Isaac Pulliam at the Alberta Winter Games in Canmore last weekend. Brown won the bronze medal at boys under 40kg division.
Photo submitted

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Sometimes you have to put a friendship aside on your way up the podium.

Thirteen-year-old Max Brown of Okotoks beat his friend, Calgary’s Isaac Pulliam, in the semifinals of the boys under 40kg judo competition at the Alberta Winter Games Saturday in Canmore.

Brown went on to win the silver medal.

“We are in the same club and over the past few tournament he has beaten me — I don’t think I had beat him since early in 2013,” said Brown, a Grade 8 student at John Paul II Collegiate.

“I walked onto the mat, and I remembered my training, I was relaxed. I fought to my best and I won.”

The match went right to the end. Brown won it when he threw Pulliam to his back — an ippon — with just 20 seconds left in the three-minute match.

He was exhausted, but somehow found the drive to throw his opponent.

“My throat was dry, I got a bloody nose — we both got bloody noses,” Brown said. “Near the end I got a wazari — which is a half point — and he was kind of on his back. That gave me a rush of adrenaline, and then I got the ippon.

“I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t even speak.”

Brown then had a big order for the final when he come up against Nicolas Gagnon in the gold medal match.

“I have watched him but I have never fought him, he cut weight to get into this category,” Brown said. “He was stronger than me.”

The final was a double knockout as both fighters were undefeated going into the match.

Brown lost both matches.

“I did my best, I lost but I was happy,” Brown said. “He out-muscled me. He doesn’t lose too many fights, he is a good judoka.“

Brown opened the tournament with a victory over Logan Rodger from Red Deer by throwing his opponent on his back in the opening 20 seconds.

Try again

An Okotoks wrestler can’t wait to get’em the next time.

Sadie Watkins settled for a silver medal in the 46kg girls weight division when she was narrowly beaten 7-5 by her nemesis, Kaelan Finlay of Edmonton at the Alberta Winter Games on Saturday.

Watkins had steamrolled her opposition going into the final — she went 3-0, winning each of her previous matches by identical 10-0 scores on Saturday.

Things would get tougher in the final.

“Kaelan and I always wrestled against each other and she always beat me,” said Watkins, a Grade 8 student at John Paul II Collegiate. “I never got close to beating her and I was always second in all the tournament.

“When I saw she was in my weight class, I got nervous.”

There’s nothing like a talk with dear old dad to calm a daughter down.

“My dad (Doug Watkins) told me to be confident because I have changed,” Watkins said. “Dad told me to do what I do best, and don’t let her get into my mind.”

Watkins might have got into Finlay’s head. The Okotoks wrestler was down by only two points in the final seconds, when her teammates and family started to yell: ‘Shoot, shoot’ in an effort to get more points.

She shot blanks and Finlay had a hard-fought two-point victory.

“My coach said I wrestled excellent because nobody had scored a point on her and I lost by only two points,” Watkins said.

Her effort helped propel the Zone 2 team to a bronze medal in the team category. Watkins next match is the Junior Olympics this Saturday in St. Albert.

For full results of the Games go to albertagames.com


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