Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame announces second inductee

lwHEADwebBy Curtis J Phillips

Laurie Wiltshire’s passport will show you stops in Argentina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, England, France, Hungary, Lebanon, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand and Venezuela.

June 13, 2013 a new stamp will be added to her life journey as Wiltshire will join the Class of 2013 for induction into Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

Wiltshire will be inducted in the athlete category in a sport that simply translates into the “gentle way”.

Judo.

Wiltshire has represented Canada, Alberta and more importantly Fort McMurray around the world in this modern martial art.

Introduced to the sport in 1993 at the Fort McMurray YMCA Judo Club and then transferring over to Fort McMurray’s Ni-Ten Judo Club in 1995, Wiltshire put in the many hours of training to where by 2002 she was crowned junior national champion in the -57 kilogram category.

To take her skills to the next level she trained at the Varennes Judo Club in Quebec from 2001 to 2005.

In 2002 she made Canada’s senior national team and would stay there until her retirement last summer.

During this period she was national champion in -52 kilogram class from 2005 until 2012 with an unprecedented eight national titles!

JUDOweb“I sacrificed a lot while in judo,” said Wiltshire, 29, Judo Alberta Senior Female Athlete of the Year from 2004- 2009. “I put off school for a long time and sacrificed a lot in money definitely. We trained at national training centre seven times a week plus cardio and weight training.”

Training out of Calgary’s Hiro’s Judo Club since 2005, Wiltshire’s goal was to make the Canadian team for the 2012 Summer Olympics held in London, England.

“That was always my goal and I did not make it. It is a very complicated process on who may attend the Olympics.”

Some of Wiltshire’s top performances included a first at the 2007 US Open in Atlanta, Georgia.  She was also fifth at the 2011 Pan American Games held in Guadalajara, Mexico and fifth at the 2007 Universiade held in Bangkok, Thailand.

“I am proud of what I have done and where I came from…Fort McMurray.  I love everything about the sport. You can’t blame anyone but yourself when you are on the mat.”

Last week the first inductee was announced for the Class of 2013 Induction Dinner with Ben Sauve in the coach category for his 18 years with the Noralta Skate Club.

Two more inductees will be announced in the coming weeks.

Zone 7 playoffs for the Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games, to be held in July 25-28 in Barrhead/Westlock, are now underway.

Had a chance to talk to 85 year-old Eva Podlosky of St. Paul who for the last 23 years has been the Zone 7 coordinator.

Podlosky admits that the representation for Fort McMurray could have been better in past years but with the changing demographics of the community believes that there could and should now be better representation.

“In the past traveling to (Alberta 55 Plus Games be they summer or winter) could have been a big problem and sometimes people like to go on vacation during the winter time or play golf during the summer.

“I think this event is great for all seniors. Especially seniors who just sit at home and want to get active. Here is a chance to try it out and see what it is all about. Most of the time when they try it out they find out that they like it.

“It is also a great way to socialize…it becomes more of an outing and social event.”

With the sports of athletics, cycling, floor curling, floor shuffleboard, golf, horseshoes, military whist, pool 8-ball, slo-pitch, swimming, tennis, bocce, cribbage, contract bridge, creative writing along with arts and crafts there is plenty on the plate to offer.

The athletes come in different shapes and sizes and with different caliber of talent.

For local info on the games contact Myrtle Dussault at 780-743-3458.

Speaking of 55 Plus, check out a humourous video on YouTube titled “2012 Old, Fat, & Bald Guy Contest – Part One” and “Part Two”. It’s from last summer with my older bro and I challenging in discus, javelin, long jump and shot along with hoops and volleyball.

My athletic throws would have landed me with gold and two bronze medals at the last Alberta 55 Plus Games while my hoop shots a tryout with the Harlem Globetrotters. My long jump is another story in itself.

If you can’t beat them, might as well join them.

When the 8,000 seat downtown arena opens in 2016 what four events would you like to see hosted there?

My picks.  NBA exhibition game, NHL exhibition game, Harlem Globetrotters and a WWE wrestling event.

Catch you on the rebound.