Injury foils gold quest

GLEN DAWKINS -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:12 PM ET

When it comes to the Senior Canadian Judo Championships, Winnipeg's Cole Hunt has developed quite a silver collection. At the last two senior nationals, he's come up short in his quest for a gold medal.

With the senior nationals being held in his hometown, the 23-year-old was hoping to take that next step. But it just didn't work out that way.

"With the home crowd, I really thought I could take it today," said Hunt, who made it to the men's 90-kg final only to lose to Alberta's Robert Edward when he was thrown for an ippon with one minute and 15 seconds left yesterday at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. "I just didn't have the right day. This is just not my year."

One of only five Manitobans to medal this weekend, Hunt was hampered by a chronic injury to his right wrist which he has been battling for the last five or six months. But despite the congratulations of his friends and teammates, he just couldn't get over the disappointment.

"Everybody says that (he should be happy with the silver)," said Hunt, a first-degree black belt who has been involved in judo since the age of six. "But once you get a few of these, you get tired of it fast."

Meanwhile, Alyssa Caughy took bronze in the women's plus-78-kg event while Michael Leger earned a bronze in the men's 90-kg yesterday.

On Saturday, Aaron Pfeffer struck gold in the men's 90-kg class for his first Canadian Senior title while Rashad Chin picked up the silver in the men's 60-kg class.

"I like the competitiveness (of judo), the one-on-one competition," said Hunt, who just finished his physical education degree at the University of Manitoba. "There's no one out there to blame anything on. When you lose, it's because of you."

'NOT READY'

In the fall, Hunt is heading off to Montreal to train with the national team.

"I'm not ready for the real work yet," he said.

On Saturday, Pfeffer used the home-crowd support to rally in his final against Quebec's Guillaume Perrault. Pfeffer was down with a minute left when he threw Perrault for an ippon and the victory.

"My entire family was there and that doesn't happen often," said Pfeffer, whose previous best performance at senior nationals was a bronze two years ago. "They're never able to come to these big tournaments. To have the support was significant because I was losing. Them chanting and cheering me on gave me the motivation to finish it off strong and suck it up."

The 2005 YMHA Jewish Athlete of the Year and a finalist again this year, Pfeffer is headed for Italy next month for Tre Tori Tournament in Corridonia, Italy.

HEADED SOUTH: Winnipeg's Olia Berger will compete as part of the Canadian team in the women's over 78-kg class at the Pan American Judo Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


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