Simb-iyez Wilson flips her Smithers Judo Club instructor Bernie Mattie during practice last week.

Simb-iyez Wilson flips her Smithers Judo Club instructor Bernie Mattie during practice last week.

Judo nationals a family affair

Smithers Judo Club members Reid Williams and Sa-yez and Simb-iyez Wilson fought their way to junior national championships in July.

Smithers Judo Club members Reid Williams and Sa-yez and Simb-iyez Wilson fought their way to junior national championships in July.

To qualify for the event, the athletes had to attend at least two provincial selection tournaments and numerous training camps throughout the year, where they were noticed by Judo BC officials and asked to take part in the competition.

“They gained valuable experience and were recognized for their hard work and dedication and were given the nod by Judo BC to attend,” said Smithers Judo Club instructor Bernie Mattie.

“I am very happy that they have followed through on their goal to make their participation in junior nationals a reality.

“The kids busted their butts to qualify.”

All three are training hard in preparation for the Judo junior nationals July 4 to 7 in Richmond.

This is their first trip to a national-level competition.

Sa-yez, 16, and Simb-iyez, 14, are brother and sister and Williams, 14, is their cousin.

Sa-yez is a brown belt, while Simb-iyez and Williams are green belts.

“They all have the willingness to learn and dedication,” said Shane Henry, who is Sa-yez and Simb-iyez’s father and Williams’ uncle, adding a lot of the credit also has to go to Mattie.

“[Bernie] gives a lot of his time to teach these kids and it’s paid off.”

The three all mentioned cardio as one thing they need to work on to prepare to compete against some of the best martial artists in Canada.

“I need to do more running and endurance training to get ready,” Simb-iyez said.

Besides training over the next few weeks, the athletes are now fundraising so they can attend the Lower Mainland competition.