Lando Ball in Smithers in late June. (Submitted photo)

Tahltan fighter from Telkwa wins provincial award

Lando Ball recognized for his commitment to and accomplishments in karate and for community service

A 13-year-old Tahltan martial artist who lives in Telkwa keeps on racking up accolades.

Lando Ball, who won bronze in Karate point fighting at the Kickboxing and Karate Union (WKU) World Championships last fall in Europe, is now the recipient of a Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sports.

Lando was one of 36 young athletes chosen for a regional award at the end of 2019. Out of those, 10 were announced for the provincial honour in late June. It came with a $500 scholarship and inclusion in the B.C. Hall of Fame for one year.

“I think that’s well-deserved for his commitment and his input in his sport and I think he should be a role model for many, many teenagers and especially for the Indigenous community, that’s very, very important,” said Lando’s kiyoshi (expert teacher) Marwan Abu Khadra.

READ MORE: Smithers fighter wins bronze at karate worlds

The awards were originally scheduled to be handed out at a ceremony in Kamloops in March, but that was promptly cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A video intended to introduce the young fighter at the ceremony was posted to YouTube June 18.

“It’s hard to believe Lando only started karate three years ago because he’s already won a gold at provincials and a gold at nationals,” the narrator intones.

He has made his parents very proud.

“He found a way to compete at a world level in a very short time,” said Ann Ball, Lando’s mother. “His dedication and commitment are above any I have ever seen and we commend him for all of his efforts.”

In fact, karate changed his life completely, Ann said.

Prior to finding the sport, Lando was diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and struggled to keep up in school. But the family did not want to treat the condition with drugs.

READ MORE: Smithers dojo captures quadruple gold at nationals

“Lando’s focus on his karate and extreme commitment, and with all-natural supplements, has assisted him in controlling his ADHD,” Ann said.

He now not only excels in karate, but also in school.

“In fact, when Lando would require focus, his teachers have been informed that having him go outside and do a couple of his katas (sets of detailed movements) – which require immense focus and memory – [will] bring him back to a balance.”

Lando’s success in both competition and in dealing with his condition has also allowed him to become a mentor to other Tahltan youth.

Prior to COVID, he did a tour of schools in the northern Tahltan communities of Iskut, Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek with Ann, Abu Khadra and another karate student.

The events included a panel discussion on overcoming challenges, a half-hour workout with students and staff (as well as RCMP in Telegraph Creek) and a two-minute sparring session.

Lando’s message to the kids is simple, but powerful.

“No matter how hard life can be sometimes, I just want you all to know to believe in yourself because life can be really tough on you at moments,” he said.

Lando’s parents are also proud of the way he supports the family, and in particular his 75-year-old grandmother Marge Fraser, as well as the Tahltan Nation at large.

“Lando comes north with me and helps put up all of our fish (for the winter) and is quite the fisherman,” Ann said. “He knows how to set the net and can do a pull of the net by himself. Last year, he packed 13 sockeye up the extremely steep hill, without stopping, in the pack by himself.”

This year he is participating in a project being conducted in Tahltan territory to get fish out to members who have been asked not to return due to COVID.

He also regularly participates in cultural and literacy camps within the territory.

While there are no competitions on the horizon for the foreseeable future, Lando continues to train as if there were. During the early phases of B.C.’s COVID response, he participated in online training sessions and since gyms have been allowed to reopen, he has been back in the Shogun Dojo in Smithers.

“He’s training 110 per cent,” Abu Khadra said. “Him and his friend basically, they train every day.”

Lando is still hoping some version of the Canadian nationals will be held and that the world championships — which had been scheduled for Quebec City in October — will go ahead, but recognizes it is a slim hope.

In any event, he can’t wait to get back into competition.

He also wants to eventually have his own dojo, he previously told The Interior News.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shea Long roosts in the Shoot Out in the Telkwa Range. (SnoRiders, Houston/Shea Long photo)
Telkwa Range snowmobiling permit lottery opens

Application period is Oct. 20 to Nov. 20 for snowmobiliers and skiers to gain access to Starr Basin

The Dupras family has been regulars at the Babine River and have seen plentiful grizzlies over the years. (Jay Dupras photo/Lakes District News)
A family’s close encounter with a grizzly on Babine River bridge

Photo-enthusiasts let the bear access the bridge for photos putting others at risk

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals. (Black Press Composite Photo)
Nathan Cullen, right, looks on as Wet’suwet’en hereditary leader Chief Woos, also known as Frank Alec, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relation, Carolyn Bennett and B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser address the media in Smithers, B.C., Sunday, March 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
10 Gitxsan hereditary chiefs call for BC NDP to remove Cullen as Stikine candidate

Ten Gitxsan hereditary chiefs have called for the firing of NDP candidate… Continue reading

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, Cullen apologize for Stikine candidate’s comments about Haida candidate

Nathan Cullen had made insensitive comments about Roy Jones Jr. Cheexial

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

Most Read