For a second consecutive weekend, budding Bahamian Judoka Xavion Johnson left a competition with a gold medal around his neck after winning one at the Ontario Open at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, last Saturday. He picked it up in the under-18 60 kilogram (kg) division.
The 16-year-old took down Phillipe Manuel with an ippon. This was the second straight week he faced Manuel.
“It feels amazing to get another gold, two times in a row, in one of Canada’s biggest tournaments in judo. My final match was against an amazing judoka, who I beat in at the Québec Open, so I knew he was going for revenge,” Johnson said.
Johnson also competed in the senior men’s 60kg category but placed fifth.
In the under-18 60kg class, Johnson said Manuel put up a fight. He said it came with the territory as his competitors were looking for revenge from a week ago. However, Johnson said that he was driven to get the victory.
“It was a difficult match. I feel like he studied me, so he knew all my moves but that didn’t stop me. A minute and a half into the match, I caught him with one of my favorite techniques for the ippon – a full score. He thought he studied me but he didn’t do it well enough. I was more driven for the win. I wanted it more than he did. All through the match, I knew I was going to beat him,” Johnson said.
Even after all those matches over the two weekends in the very physical sport, the youngster is ready to hit the mat again.
“My body feels tired but mentally I’m not done yet. This is just the beginning. I’m not going to stop until I complete all my dreams in the sport. It truly was a rigorous week, even after winning the Québec Open and the Ontario Open. I did a training camp with the Canadian national team, training with the best two times per day for four days per week,” Johnson said.
The teenager said he had a challenging year but gave credit to his support system of his family and friends. He said he is grateful that he came to Canada to train, which has helped him to improve. While in Canada, Johnson is under the tutelage of Russ Gallant and trains at the Lethbridge Kyodokan Judo Club in Lethbridge, Alberta.
“It’s amazing to train in Canada. I train three times per day, six times per week. I remember when I first started training in Canada, the first two weeks I got better and after two months I was able to compete with the best Canadians in the senior 60kg class. The training here is perfect. I have to say I am humbled and super grateful for the opportunity. Canada produces some of the best fighters in the sport,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he is finished competing for the year and vows to be back on the mat in January.