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Teen attends World Judo Championships in Uzbekistan as contest prize

Tayven Tremblay was one of four lucky contestants from around the world to win a trip to Tashkent, Uzbekistan to take in the 2022 World Judo Championships.
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Part of Tremblay's trip to Uzbekistan included taking part in colour commentary for a few matches with Judo folk-hero Neil Adams. SUPPLIED/Photo

A local teenager has recently returned from a trip of a lifetime to watch the World Judo Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Tayven Tremblay, 17, was one of four lucky winners of a video submission contest organized by the International Judo Federation (IJF) called Throw to Tashkent. To participate, contestants were required to submit a video of a judo throw, and videos were voted on by the public. 

Tremblay, a highly competitive judoka himself, submitted a video of an "uchi mata" throw he did during a match at the Quebec Open competition in 2021, where he also won bronze in the U18 men's 55-kilogram class. 

The prize for winning the contest was an all-expenses paid trip to the 2022 World Judo Championships, which were held over eight days in mid-October. 

"We were jumping up and down," Tremblay's father Jared said when asked what their reaction was when they found out Tremblay had won. “I still didn’t believe it till they actually sent me airplane tickets.”

"We didn’t think it was real,” Tremblay said. 

Once in Tashkent, which is the capital city of Uzbekistan, the Tremblays said their daily routine involved hours and hours of watching world-class judo. 

Besides the Olympics, the World Championships are the most prestigious rounds of competition in the sport. Tremblay, like a true student of the game, said his favourite memory of the trip was taking in the breathtaking gold medal match between two Japanese fighters in the men's 66-kilogram division, Hifumi Abe versus Joshiro Maruyama. 

Abe is the previous Olympic-gold champion, while Maruyama was the previous world champion. Abe won the match in Tashkent.

On top of their front-row seats to the competition, Tremblay also had the opportunity to meet numerous big-names in the sport, and found himself getting some pointers from the Canadian team that was competing. 

As well, Tremblay got to try his hand at doing colour commentary with judo folk-hero Neil Adams, the Olympic champion turned dedicated commentator for all major IJF events.

“I thought [Adams] was just going to ask me to listen but he actually got me to try and commentate on one of the matches," Tremblay said.

"It went OK, it just didn’t feel real that I was sitting beside the guy that I’ve always heard online before,” he said of his first attempt at broadcasting. 

The Tremblays also helped the IJF produce a commercial and promotional materials for next year's video submission contest, which Jared said they will surely be entering again. 

“We’re not holding our breath, but roughly a year from now there’ll be another one and we’ll definitely pull out all the stops and try for a repeat, because it was like gold,” Jared said. 

Winter Games

After being home for about a week, Tremblay was back on the mat and competing in judo himself. 

A successful and hectic 2022 competition season gave him the opportunity to earn a spot on the Team Alberta judo roster for the 2023 Canada Winter Games, being held in Prince Edward Island in February. 

To earn the roster spot, Tremblay had a best-of-three competition against Loic Beaton from Lethbridge on Sunday, Oct. 30. 

After losing the first match on points, Tremblay managed to win the second, and in the third and final contest, he managed to land a chokehold on Deaton, who tapped out. 

Tremblay will be competing in the Winter Games for the first time, and in his last opportunity as he will be over the age-limit for the 2027 competition. 

"I think it’s probably my best chance because I’m the oldest I can be, and the heaviest I can be in this group,” Tremblay said of his chances to medal. 

The Canada Winter Games begin on February 18, 2023. 


Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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