Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 4:36 p.m.
Full house for jiu jitsu tournament
Hawkesbury’s first major jiu jitsu tournament proved a bigger success than organizers dreamed.
“We’re very happy,” said Martin Nguyen, founder of Submission Arts United (SAU) in Montréal, and organizer/coordinator for the SAU Jiu Jitsu Tournament. “It’s been a very big day.” The auditorium at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex in Hawkesbury was crowded Saturday as competitors from across Ontario and Québec, and also from the Martimes and up from the U.S. border states, occupied the eight sparring rings set up in the centre of the room.
Family, friends, and fans bunched up three or four deep against the guard rails to watch the action and cheer on their favourites, as competitors of all age ranks and belt ranks grappled and tried to score a winning takedown.
The SAU tournament in Hawkesbury over the January 26 weekend is the sixteenth such event sponsored by the martial arts organization. Nguyen noted that past tournaments have averaged between 400 and 450 competitors. The Hawkesbury event surpassed all expectations with more than 600 competitor registrations and an estimated spectator tally of about 200.
Nguyen also noted that the Town of Hawkesbury proved very supportive when the SAU contacted the municipal office about staging the tournament. The SAU has experienced problems with bureaucracy, in the past, with the organization of some of its martial arts tournaments in Québec, but Nguyen said that was not the case with Hawkesbury. “We had an awesome welcome,” he said.
As part of its thanks to Hawkesbury for supporting the tournament, the SAU donated $500 from the tournament registration fund to the Hawkesbury & District General Hospital Foundation. Councillor Antonios Tsourounakis, who is also a local karate instructor, accepted the cheque on behalf of the town and the hospital foundation.
Nguyen cannot say at present if there will be another SAU venue in Hawkesbury. The provincial groups, which govern jiu jitsu and judo in Ontario, have limits on the number of major tournaments that a sports group can organize each year. But Nguyen did express confidence that Hawkesbury could be a future venue again for the SAU. “I can say it’s been a good experience in Hawkesbury,” he said.