Powell River’s judo champion is heading to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to compete in the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
Abby Lloyd, a member of the BC judo team, will have her first fight Wednesday, February 23 and will have team fights on Saturday, February 26. Lloyd is leaving for Halifax on Thursday, February 17. She said she will likely be the first to fight out of the BC team because she fights in the lightest weight category, under 48 kilograms. Lloyd said she’s not sure exactly who she is going to fight yet but that she has done some research on potential opponents and has faced many of them already in tournaments.
Having recently turned 14 years old, Lloyd is competing in the games as an “early bloomer,” which she qualified for after placing first at the 2010 Canadian Junior National Championships. She will be fighting in the Under 20 age group and will most likely end up fighting girls around the age of 17.
In the lead up to the games Lloyd has been competing in practice tournaments and training camps and has been enjoying the opportunity to travel while she fights. She went to a tournament in Toronto in November, in which many of the other athletes who will be competing in Halifax fought in. She also went to a tournament in Saskatchewan, where she again met many of the other provinces’ competitors and came in first place for Under 17 and second in Under 20.
Lloyd sees the Winter Games as a win-win situation regardless of what happens there. She never thought she would be eligible to compete in the first place due to her age, so she is thrilled to be able to attend, compete and, most of all, learn. She will be 18 by the time the next Canada Winter Games rolls around and will have four more years of training behind her and previous experience at the games.
“I think it’s going to be some great experience once I start continuing with fighting the older girls,” said Lloyd. “Once I reach that age I’ll just be that much more ahead of them.”
Neil McKenzie, Lloyd’s sensei and coach, said that Lloyd is ready for the games. He explained the amount of composure a good fighter needs and the level of concentration necessary to win. Lloyd has great focus, said McKenzie, along with the physical strength, which, McKenzie laughs, the boys in the local club used to call “monkey strength” after she would beat them all.
Coming into the games Lloyd said she is excited, a little nervous but is looking forward to the experience and is happy to be representing Powell River. Halifax is the furthest that Lloyd has ever travelled and she said that she will have time for some sightseeing and to watch other events. She has spent time with her teammates at the practice tournaments and said they are already good friends.
The 2011 Canada Winter Games are currently underway in Halifax. TV coverage is limited but some events are being aired on TSN and TSN2.