He was expected to be the go-to guy when it came to a podium finish for Team NT at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., and he didn’t disappoint.

Wilson Elliot, in blue, gets the upper hand on Ijob Hamraev of Manitoba during the bronze medal match in the boys 81-kg judo competition at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., on Wednesday.
Sarah Pruys/Team NT photo

Wilson Elliot is a bronze medalist thanks to his win over Ijob Hamraev of Manitoba on Wednesday afternoon by ippon (one point), which is all that’s needed to win a match in judo. It’s the first medal of any colour for the North at the Games.

Elliot said he felt the pressure of being the medal favourite heading into action on Wednesday.

“I was feeling it a bit but I was just happy to get out there and fight,” he said.

Elliot started out strong by winning his first bout against Marcus Heaton of New Brunswick by ippon in just 13 seconds.

“I knew the first guy, I’ve fought him before,” said Elliot. “I knew what I had to do to beat him.”

But as lucky as 13 was in his first bout, it quickly became an unlucky number as it came back to haunt him in his semifinal bout vs. Ian Ryder of B.C. as Elliot fell victim to ippon in 13 seconds.

“I hadn’t fought him in four years and I knew he would be the difference between me fighting for gold or bronze,” said Elliot. “I just got caught in that fight.”

As for the identical times of victory and defeat, Elliot said he had no idea about it.

“I don’t pay attention to the clock too much,” he said.

In his bronze medal match, Elliot came out the tougher of the two, managing a throw within the first 10 seconds of the bout. The referee originally signalled ippon but it was waved off and changed to a waza-ari (half-point).

“I’m not sure why it was reversed,” said Elliot. “I had the hold and I was waiting for the referee to say osaekomi (pin) but she said no.”

Elliot, though, would not be denied seconds later as he overpowered Hamraev with another throw that was scored an ippon.

It took just 33 seconds.

“It was the first time I had seen him or fought him,” said Elliot. “Mario (Desforges, coach) said I could make my own plan on how to fight him. He helped out in my first two fights but he let me go through my routine for the last fight.”

Irregardless of the decision, Elliot said he was in no real danger of losing control of the fight and his size played a big part.

“The other guy weighed in at 87 kg and I was 157.1 kg,” he said. “That always makes a difference when you’re a bigger guy.”

There is no rest for the weary as Elliot will be leaving Red Deer to head to the Alberta capital for the Edmonton International Judo Open at West Edmonton Mall, which begins on March 8.

But there was one thing he planned to do as soon as he could after winning his medal.

“I’m going for chicken wings,” he said.

James McCarthy

I've been hanging around the office as the sports editor for the better part of the last 16 years. In August 2022, NNSL Media decided to promote me to the managing editor's position, which I accepted after...

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