Johnson wins gold medal at judo competition in Edmonton

Bahamian junior judoka Xavion Johnson is continuing to make waves in the sport of judo and this past weekend was no different as he was victorious at the 18th Annual Edmonton International Judo Championship at the West Edmonton Mall Ice Palace, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The competition took place March 11-12 and 16-year-old Johnson competed in the under-18 men’s 60 kilogram (kg) division. Johnson took down Denis Neyolov with a win by ippon in the gold medal match. It was his first ever senior gold medal. The match against Neyolov was a tough one as he had expected, he said.

“My goal was to get close to my opponent to throw him but since he knew what my moves are and what I like to do, it was extremely hard to catch him. I had one millisecond of being as close as I can to him and I caught him for a score. After that, my game plan was to run out the clock. It went off and so, I won,” Johnson said.

He took down competitors Braydin Nguyen, Li Eldon and Kim Aden to advance to the final.

In February, Johnson won a gold medal at the Matsumae Cup in Vejie, Denmark. He also competed in the Czech Republic.

“It was extremely hard fighting in Europe. European Judo is hard to fight since they’re so strong and technically good but if you know how to work around that you should be able to win,” Johnson said. “The year for me competition-wise is going absolutely amazing. I’ve been undefeated in under-18 60kg for five and a half months. I won my first ever European medal. I feel like everything is coming together this year.”

Johnson said he has to work on his gripping technique, throwing, cardio and strength. He said he is looking to work on those aspects, so he can keep developing as a judoka. He attends Capstone Academy and is set to graduate in June.

“School is coming along well. I’m in my last year of high school, so I’m happy about that. Balancing school and judo is hard but once you get used to a certain schedule, it gets easier,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s next major competition will be the European Cup, set for May 27-28, in Coimbra, Portugal.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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