Abby Lloyd is back from the 2011 Canada Winter Games without a medal but with some hard-fought and appreciated experience.
Lloyd, fighting in the under 48 kilogram weight category in the under 20 championship, fought three bouts at the games. She won one of her fights but lost the other two and came up just short of moving on to the semifinals.
Lloyd fought 17-year-old Erin Morgan representing Alberta in her first fight. The pair went to the ground and Lloyd lost by submission. Lloyd said she came into her fight with Quebec’s 18-year-old Roxanne Smith-Robitaille with more focus which allowed her to win the bout by a point after going the distance. Lloyd went the distance again in her third fight with Ontario’s Mackenzie Burt, also 14, but lost the extremely close bout by a point.
“It was a great learning experience and in four years I have another chance,” said Lloyd. “I was a little discouraged but I tried my best and that’s all that matters. It’s really a win-win situation.”
Lloyd said she learns more from the fights that she loses than those she wins. At 14, Lloyd qualified for the games as an “early bloomer” after winning the 2010 Canadian Junior National Championships, so just having the opportunity to fight older competitors and see what she needs to be working toward makes the experience worthwhile. Four years from now, Lloyd plans to fight in the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George and she knows that her experience this year will go a long way in preparing her for that event.
Life isn’t about to slow down for Lloyd now that the games are over. In two weeks she is off to Kamloops for a tournament and training camp and then in April she will be in Edmonton for the Western Canadian Championships. From there she will be training for the BC Winter Games in Vernon in February, 2012.
“It shows at 14 she can compete at this level,” said father Jeff Lloyd. “That’s what she was after, that’s what she went for and she got it...she’s always come back stronger or better after going to something like this.”
Lloyd also took part in the 4th annual Powell River Judo Club invitational competition recently at Oceanview Secondary School. Organizer and Powell River Judo Club Sensei Neil McKenzie said that the event went smoother than any other year and that appreciation goes out to all volunteers for the success.
About 70 competitors took part in about 300 fights, including 23 fighters from the Powell River club, 28 from Campbell River, 10 from Nanaimo and a group from Mill Bay. Adults fought in exhibition bouts and McKenzie said there were some really high quality fights including some black-belt match ups.
Seven Powell River competitors, including Lloyd, took gold during the event. The others were Samantha Baron, Vaihau Castagnoli, Cole Needham, Beth Whitaker, Zan Plesner and Tyler Wilson. Other medals were won by a further 16 fighters from Powell River.
McKenzie said that watching seven of his younger fighters compete for the first time was a highlight for him. With a couple hundred people in the audience and parents watching, McKenzie said some of them were pretty nervous, but that competing is always a great experience.
“I was proud of them. I was proud to be associated with them, the parents. Everything was great,” said McKenzie.