Results for judo athlete Ali Briggs appear to be cast in bronze after she earned another third-place medal at a major judo competition.
Briggs collected her latest bronze in Junior U20 competition at the Ontario Youth International, in Brampton on Nov. 12-13. It drew teams from all over Canada and the United States and included most of the top youths in Canada.
This was Briggs’ fifth or sixth bronze medal at the national level, with the roster in Ontario very similar to that at the 2011 nationals.
The Ontario International saw Briggs win her first, but lose the second fight, which sent her to the repechage. Then she got back on track and won her next two matches, but the best she could have hoped for after the one loss was bronze.
Her coach and dad, Ian Briggs, says the single loss was unfortunate because it came at the hands of an athlete Ali had defeated in the past.
“Her division is very even and dynamic with about four in that group who on any day could win it. We’re just trying to tweak or change something now to break through that bronze barrier.”
Coach Briggs says a typical four-minute-long match can easily be lost in the last 10 seconds.
“If someone throws you on your back with force and direction, they win. That’s what happened to Ali.”
Noting they have to deal with the high pressure involved with competitive judo, he says the club is taking the necessary steps with its top athletes so they can deal with it.
“In the last six months, we’ve been focusing on their mental preparation. The provincial coach identified mental training for both Ali and Stephanie Salzbrenner.”
Salzbrenner also competes at the Junior U20 level and recently won a gold medal at the 2011 Continental Judo Crown tournament in Seattle.
Both athletes are members of Team BC and they plan to attend a Christmas camp in Abbotsford, where they will have the opportunity to train with a member of the Canadian Olympic judo team.