I hope this message finds you safe and healthy during these trying times. It has been encouraging to see the overwhelming response, from our members to our virtual classes and clinics that we’ve been offering to keep us all connected and active. I will be sending out a President’s Message every few months to give our membership an update of the activities and initiatives of Judo Ontario. Originally, we had only planned on sending this message out the clubs but have since decided to send it out to all members.
As you all know, the pandemic has impacted our members, including clubs, athletes, coaches and parents as well as Judo Ontario stakeholders across Ontario. Depending on where you live and the facilities your clubs are based in, many have been scrambling to develop contingency plans. Throughout the pandemic, some clubs have been permitted to hold in-person classes with no restrictions; others have been holding in person classes with social distancing while many, unable to open have adapted to online video classes.
Sadly, but not unexpectedly, the Judo Ontario membership is down by 74% from last year due to the pandemic. The entire Judo community will need to work together to restore our previous membership numbers once we are able to open our clubs with no restrictions.
Judo Ontario is offering a 30% discount for the 2021-22 season to members that were members during the 2020-21 season or to those who register by May 31 st, 2021. The Ministry has recognized the incredibly challenging year for all sport clubs in Ontario and has released additional funding to Judo Ontario to be dispersed to judo member clubs who meet the eligibility criteria. Clubs will need to apply for these funds no later than May 31st – stay tuned for details in a letter coming to all clubs shortly.
To promote judo and provincial/territorial associations and clubs, Judo Canada will be launching a promotional campaign across the country inviting judoka of all ages, volunteers, referees, coaches, parents and anyone involved in the sport of judo across Canada to tell them what judo means to you. Get involved and send your video (30 second maximum) to the Judo Canada “Judo Is Project”. Click here for more information and to upload your video.
James Millar, our Technical/Coaching Director is back after a 4 month leave of absence – he was waiting for his immigration status to be completed and was further delayed due to COVID-19. The High Performance (HP) Program continued with the help of Steve Sheffield our Sport Director who bridged the gap and fulfilled both roles during James’ absence.
Judo Ontario has started a series of technical courses with funding from the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO). Our first webinar, Sports & Fitness Nutrition aimed at athletes, coaches and parents was a great success with over 50 participants. We will also be putting on a Strength and Conditioning and later a Mental Performance webinar. Both webinars will be open to all members of Judo Ontario. Once the dates are confirmed you will receive an email and the information will be posted on the website.
The Technical/Coaching Director will be coordinating coaching forums for each region to develop programs specific to athletes, coaches, and clubs for each region. It is our goal to give all Judo Ontario athletes and coaches the same opportunity to follow the “Judo Ontario High Performance Pathway” by providing the information and tools needed to achieve these goals. Click here for more information on Judo Ontario Pathway to Excellence.
The start date for our new High Performance Coach, An Jeong-Hwan has been delayed again, due to the pandemic, but we hope to see him in June. We are looking forward to working with An who brings an abundance of international experience both as an athlete and coach.
It was our hope to host the Ontario Open this year. We have obtained a grant for the Ontario Open, but it does not look promising due to the pandemic. We will be able to extend the grant for next year.
Judo Ontario has launched a series of free Virtual Referee Webinars suitable for referees at all levels, judoka, volunteers, and parents that you can log-in from home. Click here to view the first webinar. Our first referee session had over 120 registered participants. Our next scheduled webinars are Gestures Scoring and Limits on April 25th and Time, Start of Contest, Osaekomi and Newaza Situations on May 16th.
Girls Virtual Training
We have also initiated virtual Girls Only Training Sessions that will offer a series of 6 training webinars led by Sensei Carline Young. We have over 60 participants registered for this first 6 week program. Our plan is to continue the training after the initial 6 weeks is completed.
Youth Academy Virtual Training
Starting on May 4th, the Youth Academy virtual training will be open to all U14 orange belts and up on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 to 6:00 pm and on Saturdays from 10:00 to 11:00 pm. Judo Ontario members can register by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adult/Veteran Virtual Training
Virtual Adult/Veteran training will start back every Friday, starting May 7th, at 5:30 to 6:30 pm. It will be open to all members of Judo Ontario, yellow belt and up. Go to the Judo Ontario web site to register. Judo Ontario members can register by contacting email@example.com.
High Performance Training
Starting May 4th , High Performance Training will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 to 7:00 pm and on Saturdays from 11:00 to 12:00 pm. You must be a member of Judo Ontario in good standing to participate in this training.
Chat with a Champion
We have launched Chat with a Champion starting with 3 of Ontario’s own - Jessica Klimkait, Shady El Nahas, and Keagan Young. Our first session with Jessica had over 50 participants. Click to view Session. We will be announcing more guest athletes in the very near future.
Project Sport Initiative
Judo Ontario also successfully applied for a Project Sport Initiative grant through the Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario (CSIO). Judo Ontario has identified this project as a priority program, with the goal is to support regional development, provide guidance to our coaches, that have talent identified athletes and to provide training sessions for both visually impaired and sighted judoka.
Parasport Collective Project Proposal
Judo Ontario was also successful in securing a grant through the Ontario Parasport Collective to facilitate the development of High-Performance Planning, centered around Talent Identification and Tracking, Supportive Performance Environments, Deliberate Training and Competition Preparation in the province of Ontario with NSOs, PSOs, DSO’s and MSO’s. Judo Ontario vision for this grant is the creation of a Visually Impaired (VI) program.
Olympic Games Hopefuls Two of our athletes that have graduated from the Judo Ontario High Performance Program and are currently training at the National Training Centre. Both are in qualifying positions to represent Canada at the Olympic Games. Jessica Klimkait is now ranked number 2 in the World and Olympic rankings. Since two Canadians are ranked one and two in Olympic qualifications and only one can be selected to compete at the Olympic games, Judo Canada will need to make a selection. It will not be possible to do a fight off in Canada due to COVID19 restrictions. The selection will be decided by the best result at the World Championships in Budapest. Health Ban on Fight-offs in Canada.
Shady El Nahas has also had a great Olympic qualification period and is currently ranked 8th in the world and is on the cusp of securing his position to represent Team Canada at Tokyo 2020.
Mohab Elnahas, also a graduate of Judo Ontario’s HP program, will be competing at the 2021 World Championships in Budapest for a final push to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Good luck to all our athletes! You continue to inspire us!
Grants & Funding
Every year Judo Ontario applies for grants over and above our base funding. This year due to the pandemic there were additional grants available and I’m happy to report we were successful in obtaining additional funding. The successful grants are as follows:
Ontario Sport Hosting Fund (Ontario Open)
Summer Experience Program (SEP)
Provincial Bilateral Fund
Canada/Ontario Job Grant - Google Training
Ontario Amateur Sport Fund (OASF)
Federal Government - COVID 19 Emergency Support Fund for Sport Organizations
COVID 19 Emergency support Fund for Provincial Sport and Multi sport Organizations
Provincial Government - Funding to Provincial Sport Clubs
Social Media, Web Site & Marketing
Our Sport Director has recently taken Google AdWords training to help increase traffic to our website. In addition to Google advertising, we are experimenting with Facebook posts boosts to extend our visibility to more judo enthusiasts’ people outside the judo community. Our last boost reached 33,726 people and generated 3,945 post engagements (like, comments, and shares) which is around double our more popular non-boosted posts.
Many improvements have also been made to the Judo Ontario web page and we have started a YouTube channel to better share our videos and extend our reach and visibility.
Judo Ontario has started a 3-month process of creating a new 3-year Strategic Plan that will align with our partners and fulfill the expectations of our membership while meeting the challenges that this pandemic has put in front of us. During this process we will be reaching out to stakeholders including dojoshu’s, judoka, volunteers, and committee chairs to solicit feedback and ideas for future, sustainable development.
Many thanks to all the board members, committees, and staff for their efforts in bringing these programs to life and to our members for sticking with us this year – you make it all possible!
Yours in Judo,
President of Judo Ontario