---- — LONDONDERRY — Four Derry families traveled to Buffalo, N.Y., May 24 to represent Moreau’s Training Center in the 41st Annual Am-Can International Judo Championships.
After an eight-hour drive, the team geared up to have what would be a challenging two days of competition. Four of Moreau’s Junior Team members spent Saturday competing against some of the best judo players in the world.
Sophie Rench, a St. Thomas Aquinas third-grader, competed in the girls 6- to 8-year-old division. She was the first of the Moreau’s Training Center students to bow onto the mats. This was Sophie’s first international tournament and after five hard-fought matches, Sophie earned the silver medal for her division.
Colby Gagnon, a Barka Elementary third-grader, competed in the boys 6- to 8-year-old division. He was no stranger to this tournament. Colby competed in last year’s Am-Can International Judo Championships, coming up just shy of winning a medal. Colby had four very tough matches, and won each by perfect score (or ippon as it is called in judo). He took home the gold medal.
Tommy Moreau Jr., the 10-year-old son Tom Moreau Sr., head coach and owner Moreau’s Training Center, has been competing in judo since the age of 4. This was his fourth year competing in this tournament. Tommy was set to fight in the heavyweight division against competitors who had 4 to 6 inches and about 20 pounds on him. He took it to both opponents he faced and won both matches by ippon. He took home the gold medal.
Derek Low is a high honors freshman at Pinkerton Academy, whose Judo experience helped land him a spot on the Pinkerton Astro’s varsity wrestling team. He won two of his matches with perfect throws, and his third by rear naked choke. Derek’s only loss on the day was to the eventual gold medalist. He won the bronze medal.
Coach Tom Moreau competed Sunday in the Senior Elite Division. He has been competing in judo for 15 years.
“With my son, my students and their families there to support me,” Moreau said, “I couldn’t be more ready.”
The first minute of his match was a back-and-forth struggle. After some minor adjustments to his plan, Moreau won the match with a perfect throw. He went on to have flawless victories on the day and won his third Am-Can International gold medal.
Moreau’s Training Center is at 501 Mammoth Road, Unit 6, in Londonderry. Visit moreaustrainingcenter.com.