Judoka Xavion Johnson pulls off one of his greatest feats, wins gold

As of Thursday, March 2, 2023


XAVION JOHNSON, second from left, on the podium after winning the gold.


XAVION Johnson gestures after flooring his opponent.


#Senior Sports Reporter


#XAVION Johnson, one of the top, rising young judokas in the island nation, pulled off one of his greatest feats when he captured the under-18 60 kilograms title in the Matsumae Cup in Vejie, Denmark.

#Johnson, competing recently out of his training camp in Canada, won the title over Haugesund Tomsu of the Czech Republic. He advanced to the final after beating Adam Restik, also from the Czech Republic, in the semi-final match.

#He beat another Czech Republican in Adam Resutik in the quarter-finals after taking down Santtu Kottari.

#On his return to Canada over the weekend to continue his training, Johnson said he was thrilled with his performance at the European sanctioned event.

#“It was really amazing when I won it. I was truly excited and happy,” Johnson said.

#“I was really excited for the performance because I was trying so hard to get this title.”

#After winning his first four matches, Johnson said he knew he would have his hands full in the final, but he gave it his best shot.

#“I just wanted to get it out the way because I knew it was going to be a tough match,” said Johnson, who needed less than three minutes to secure the match. “He’s one of the best fighters coming out of the Czech Republic in the under-18s 60 kilo class.”

#Looking back at his performance, Johnson said it was exactly what his coach expected of him.

#“In my first match, I got my opponent off the ground and caught him with one of my favourite moves to put him on the mat,” Johnson recalled. “In my second match, I was trying to feel my opponent out, but I got thrown for a score and that kind of woke me up, I got him back and won it.

#“In the third match, my coach said after you win this one, the semi-final will follow really quick, so I had to beat this guy immediately. I took him down in about 20 seconds. In the semifinal, it was a tough match, but I caught my opponent with one of my favourite moves and got him on the mat for the win.”

#The final match, no doubt, turned out to be the hardest, but Johnson persevered and he got the job done. He said his training camp in Canada played a significant role in his development going into the tournament. He said the consistent hard work in his three sessions a day really paid off for the past two months he spent there.

#“I have to work on my techniques and my gripping, but I’m also going to continue to work on my ground work because I want to get better all around,” he summed up.

#Johnson is now preparing to compete again at the Edmonton International in Canada next weekend. “I’m praying that I can win in the U-18 60 kilos and then the seniors 60 kilos for the same tournament,” he projected.

#On this journey, Johnson is hoping that he will eventually qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris, France, in 2024. He will have to make the transition from the under-18 judo to the open division and that is where he’s hoping his experience gained will pay off for him in the long run.

#“It’s a huge jump,” said Johnson about competing against some of the world’s best in his bid to follow in the footsteps and join fellow Bahamian judokas Cynthia Rahming and Andrew Munnings on the elite stage. “It would be amazing to be one of the top competitors representing the Bahamas. I’m really motivated by watching Cynthia and Andrew compete on the highest level in judo. It shows where I want to be and how much more growth I have to get in my career. So I’m just excited to keep pushing through and to see how far I can go.”

#Before the year is out, Johnson wants to get more major titles and that is the Cadet world champion. The 16-year-old Johnson will have to go through the Cadet World Championships on August 24 in Croatia to earn the feat.

#“I have to get stronger, get my gripping better, improve on my technique and get my ground game better. I just have to get better all around,” he stated.

#“Once I do that, I feel I will be ready to become the Cadet world champion this year.”

#Right now, the six-foot Johnson, who is normally one of the tallest competitors in his class, feels he’s on the right track to achieving all of his goals.


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