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2024 International Judo and Kata Championships at West Edmonton Mall Sunday

2024 International Judo and Kata Championships at West Edmonton Mall Sunday

North America's largest judo tournament brought athletes from across Canada to the West Edmonton Mall over the weekend.

More than 1,200 competitors took part on Saturday and Sunday in the 2024 International Judo and Kata Championships.

Judo is a martial art and an Olympic sport.

Mark Hicks, tournament director, said the sport is not as popular in Canada as it is in other countries around the world, but it is fun and suitable for anyone who likes a physical and mental challenge.

“The physical fitness demands you get from this, the tactical skills you learn from doing this is amazing,” Hicks said. “If you like individual sports, where you can control your own destiny, this is the sport for you.”

Judoka Drake Gregory said his father introduced him to the sport when he was younger. At first, he didn't like it, but he's glad he stuck with it.

“I'm grateful he forced me now,” Gregory added. “I love this sport very much, and it has taught me a lot of things like discipline and hard work.”

On Sunday, top athletes took to the mat to earn national points and attract the attention of Canadian judo.

Judo became an Olympic sport in 1964. Since then, Team Canada athletes have won seven medals.

Team Canada will head to Paris in July for the 2024 Olympic Games.

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