Winning wasn’t on the minds of Penticton Judo Club members Jade Lowenstein and Lennard Supernault.
Yet that’s what they accomplished at the B.C. Open Judo Tournament in Vernon April 15-16.
Lowenstein, who won in the under-14 under 48 kilogram category, said she didn’t care about the gold medal.
“I made some friends and that’s what was important,” said Lowenstein, a judoka. “I think friendships with my competitors and those in other divisions was more exciting than winning gold.”
Lowenstein fought twice and said they were intense fights. She added that her opponents were likely better than herself. Lowenstein thinks what helped her win was having a slight weight advantage, but she also trained hard and received support from her mom who screamed from the sidelines.
“At first I thought it was somebody else,” she said. “I thought it was cool that my mom was getting into it like that. She usually only cheers like that for rugby.”
Penticton Judo Club sensei Henry Boas said that Lowenstein was able to win her division by controlling her opponent on their back.
“She’s doing very well,” said Boas of Lowenstein, adding that she’s going through a growth spurt. “She could use more competition.”
The gold medal is Lowenstein’s first in six tournaments. She has also won two silver and two bronze medals.
For Supernault, it was his tournament debut after joining the club with his daughter in September. Boas said Supernault was awesome.
“He’s a big fella, really solid,” said Boas. “He obliterated his opponent. His championship bout he threw the guy a couple of times.”
Supernault, who competed in the senior open 100-plus KG division, said his fights happened “in the blink of an eye” both lasting about a minute.
“I’d say the toughest part was the adrenaline dump. Having to control my breathing and stay calm and relaxed so I could focus,” said Supernault, who used to be an amateur boxer before suffering a break that doesn’t allow him to punch anymore. “It was quite the rush for sure. I think they had a hard time dealing with my size. I could see right off the bat they were a little hesitant to come in on me.”
Also competing were Ben Donegan, Samuel Donegan, Liam Birch, Owen Ironside, Marko Lucaic and Nicolis Voges. Boas said they fought well and received participation medals, since they are all under the age of 12 and no medals are given out for winning.
Boas said the performances from the club members were excellent. Along with Boas, the competitors were accompanied by sensei’s Bob Suzukovich and Mark Carey.
The Penticton Judo Club has been operating since 1996 and has 70 members, five whom have black belts.