#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#WHILE Xavion Johnson continues to make a name for himself on the international judo scene, he’s not forgotten by the Bahamas Judo Federation for his achievements.
#During a reception at Cocoplum Bistro & Bar organised by his mother, Ordain Moss and family, as well as the federation on his return home from competing in a series of events in Canada, Johnson was presented with a plaque for the Junior Athlete of the Year by BJF executive Reno Culmer.
#Additionally, his member of Parliament for Fox Hill, Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, presented him with an undisclosed amount in a cheque after Moss showed a video presentation on her son’s journey from his introduction to the sport to the present day.
#Johnson, who noted that he had a passion for the sport from the time he got started, has moved from the US Open junior champion to the Ontario Open champion. He hopes to resume his training in January for his next tournament in Denmark in February.
#But, in the meantime, he said he’s just delighted to be able to return home and get the reception that he got.
#“I’m pretty happy,” he said.
#He thanked everyone who came out and supported him, but for everyone who played a part in his development, including his parents, grandmother, great-grandmother, family, friends, the federation, Andrew Munnings, whom he looks up to as his role model and Cynthia Rahming, who has been there assisting him from day one.
#In making his presentation to Johnson, Mitchell said as he listened to his commentary, he remembered how as a 10-year-old, his only interest was being a politician and that is what he is today. He said he’s thrilled to see how passionate Johnson is about competing in judo.
#“You have to decide early in life that you will side with the good guys, or you will side with the bad guys,” Mitchell said. “Come what may, if you decide to be one of the good guys, that’s where you are. No matter what the pain, the difficulties, the trials and the ups and downs, if you are on the side of the good people, you are on the side of the good people.”
#In commending Moss, Mitchell said he remembers his former friend Al Dillette, who along with his wife, Kathryn, raised three children and supporting them in all of their sporting endeavours and he emphasized that as one of the good guys, the community is expecting great things from Johnson and while he’s proud of what he has done, he will be there to continue to support him.
#Oria Wood, the deputy director of sports at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, represented Minister Mario Bowleg. She commended Johnson on his accomplishments and even his aspirations to go on to compete at the Olympic Games.
#As the officer for judo at the ministry, Wood said he was able to develop a bond with federation president D’Arcy Rahming when he came to register the sport at the ministry, and she has been able to assist the BJF financially and will continue to do so, especially to the point where Johnson becomes the next judoka to get on the government subvention.
#“Xavion, we know that we have a diamond (in the rough) because if an athlete can achieve world-class status as a teenager, then we know that you are going to go far,” Wood said.
#“In your dreams, as long as you persevere, push hard and remain disciplined, you will get to the Olympic Games, and you will do well.”
#In addition to family and members of the Ministry of Sports, also present were Munnings and Cynthia Rahming, the top two senior judokas and Kent Bazard, one of the top martial arts instructors and personal trainers in the island nation.
#During his latest appearance in Canada, the 16-year-old Johnson won the Quebec Open at the Claude Robillard Sports Complex in the under-18 boys’ division of the 60-kilogram class over Luka Tsatsalashvili with a 3-0 decision in just two minutes and 49 seconds on the clock.
#In the process, Johnson qualified for the Cadet World Championships.
#Prior to that, Johnson claimed the bronze in 18-and-under 66kg class in October at the Manitoba Open at the Dakota Community Center in Manitoba, Canada where he lost to Peter Velonas. He also won the bronze medal in the senior division 66kg division after he lost to Ashton Debruyne.
#Johnson, who revealed that his first name Xavion means “Warrior,” represented the Bahamas earlier this year in the Sarajevo World Championships Cadets, Panamerican – Oceania Junior Championships and the Panamerican – Oceania Cadets Championships.