Aside from COVID, the other that I’d been avoiding restaurants was my goal of fighting in the NZ judo nationals, which was in Christchurch in mid-October. Actually, they had the South Island Championships, and then the North Islands two weeks later, and then the nationals three weeks after that. This was in fact the first time that I’d fought in -60kg in NZ, though I had worked to get to -60 for Canadian senior nationals this May. Unlike at the North Island championships (failed water loading leaving me at 61.5 morning-of), this time I made it.
To my surprise, there were 9 men in -60, and 10 in -66 (which had been surprisingly strong at the South Islands). I’d never seen 9 -60s in this country. Anyway, I got thrown with a drop seoi 1 minute into my first match. I had had a good sequence in ground work, but didn’t manage to capitalize. The two matches in the repechage were against less-experienced competitors. I wasn’t messing around, threw one guy for the full point, and threw and pinned the second guy, for (yet another) bronze. The gold medal match didn’t go the way I thought it would. Sadly, I wasn’t in it; our half of the draw was strong.
The Wellington Judo Academy did quite well at nationals, winning 20 medals. Most people fought in multiple divisions, but I only did seniors. Could do veterans, but -73 isn’t good for me (better than open, but still).
I didn’t have a huge amount of time in Christchurch. Transit isn’t quite as good as I’d like, so I supplemented with neuron e-kick-scooters to do last-3-miles at times. I stayed at Designer Cottage, an old-school B&B run by Steve and his partner (Chet from Malaysia, if I recall correctly?). Highly recommended. It’s a shame I had to miss the breakfast on Saturday (no way I’d make weight) but it was tasty on Sunday and Monday.
Also, there were some people flying out early on Saturday morning. Somehow they didn’t clue into the “being quiet at 5am” thing. Until I knocked on their door and said “It’s 5am. You have to be quiet.” Over the next few days, I got positive feedback from the other guests about that.
[pictures, including designer cottage] 20221014_071203573 20221015_031832839 20221015_040903909 20221016_035826852 20221016_041556429 20221016_044911012
There was another athlete staying at the Cottage as well, from Tahiti. He had just won some race on Sunday. And there was a guy coming in from Japan to go see stars at the Mt. John observatory near Tekapo.
Walking back from Saturday dinner at Lone Star (hard to seat a large party even in Christchurch, but not awesome; 9 ribs is twice as many as I can handle, and was also Sunday dinner), I ran into referees from Australia Serge and Sam (actually a NZer), who were staying close by.
On Snuday afternoon, I had time to take the Christchurch Tram (last departure of the day). Not transit. It does a 4km loop in 50 minutes with commentary along the way. I guess I’d do it once, but not really again. Turns out that they’ve recently added 600m of track. After riding the tram I enjoyed an ice cream cone. Now, if only there was actual rail transit in Christchurch again.
Finally, on Monday morning I walked to the bus stop and then took the bus back to the airport, which worked well enough I guess. My camera stayed at Designer Cottage (under the chair); huge props to Steve for mailing it to me! (and fewer props for NZ Post for taking a while to mail the package).