Yellowknife’s Wilson Elliot put the Northwest Territories on the medal board at the 2019 Canada Games, taking bronze in judo.
Elliot, an under-18 national champion in his sport, lost his semi-final to close friend Ian Ryder of BC, but came back to swiftly defeat Manitoba 17-year-old Ijob Hamraev for bronze.
“He did a very great job,” said his coach, Mario Desforges. “He really won the bronze medal, he did his job.”
This is the second Canada Winter Games in a row at which Desforges’ judo program has picked up a medal, following silver for Brent Betsina in 2015.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Elliot’s bronze in the +81 kg category represents the lone medal won by the three territories at this year’s Canada Games in Red Deer.
“I’m pretty proud,” said Elliot, 18. “I was thinking, ‘I have to win this one.’ I didn’t want to leave without a medal. I was really focused.”
Wilson, who hopes to have a future with the Canadian national team, said winning a medal at this year’s Canada Games ranks among his top three lifetime accomplishments, alongside taking a national title and competing on behalf of Canada at last year’s Pan American Junior Championships.
“I would like to work with the national team next year,” he said, “but I’m still making some choices.”
Desforges said: “He had to win the bronze today, and that’s harder, because you’ve just lost and you have to pump up yourself.
“He has great potential for the next level. If he keeps going and pushes himself, he has the profile for [the Olympics in] 2028. Step by step, he can do it. He has proved that he can do it.”