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Karate star Coady looks to get his kicks trying other sports

Christopher Coady of Flatrock, left, competes for Canada at the Junior Pan American championship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last month. Coady has travelled extensively with Karate Canada teams.
Christopher Coady of Flatrock, left, competes for Canada at the Junior Pan American championship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last month. Coady has travelled extensively with Karate Canada teams. - Contributed

Christopher Coady top performer at RBC Training Ground tour; hopes to catch the eye of another sport which could lead to national team berth

Christopher Coady is well on his way to making his mark in the sport of karate, but the 19-year-old from Flatrock isn’t closing the door to other sporting opportunities, especially if it means a national team berth and perhaps even a crack at the Olympic Games down the road.

And that’s why Coady, a 1st Dan black belt in Chito Ryu Karate, the traditional Japanese form of karate which falls under the umbrella of Karate Canada and the World Karate Federation, gave it a whirl at the latest St. John’s stop on the RBC Training Ground tour earlier this month at the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre in St. John’s.

The Training Ground program is designed to help identify candidates for future Canadian Olympic teams.

St. John's was one of 32 cities and towns across the country which staged a qualifying event on the tour, with the Atlantic regional final slated for Sept. 29 in Halifax.

Open to individuals between the ages of 14-25, athletes were measured for suitability with regards to body size and proportion. They were required to perform speed, power, strength and endurance tests in front of officials from the Canadian Olympic Committee and national sport organizations.

A six-time provincial champion and three-time national karate champ, Coady impressed those who were in St. John’s, and was selected from 71 participants to travel to Halifax for the regional final.

“Not only did Christopher record the day’s top results in the 40m sprint, his overall performance was outstanding,” said Kurt Innes, director of talent development for RBC Training Ground and the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific. “This really puts him in elite company when it comes to amateur athletes with Olympic potential in a wide range of sports.”

Nicole Chan of St. John’s, shown here competing for Newfoundland and Labrador in the Canada Summer Games last month in Winnipeg, was the top female performer at the RBC Training Ground tour.
Nicole Chan of St. John’s, shown here competing for Newfoundland and Labrador in the Canada Summer Games last month in Winnipeg, was the top female performer at the RBC Training Ground tour.

The event’s top female was 23-year-old St. John’s native Nicole Chan. Chan, a track and field athlete who competed for Memorial University last season, recorded the top result in vertical jump (72.6 cm, which met the elite benchmark) and 30m sprint (4.32 seconds).

Chan, who was also a figure skater, won a bronze medal in the triple jump at the 2018 Atlantic University Sport indoor track and field championship last season, and also competed for the province in the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, and the 2013 Sherbrooke, Que. Summer Games.

As for Coady, he’s a veteran of international competition with Karate Canada teams. He just returned last month from the Junior Pan American championship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He’s also competed in Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru in the Junior Pan Ams, in Curacao for the Senior Pan American championships (he was ninth in 2017), and was in the Canary Islands last year for the junior world karate championship. Three times he’s fought in Las Vegas, twice at the U.S. Open championship and once at the Junior International Cup.

So he’s obviously on the Karate Canada radar, which is a good thing, especially now that karate in an Olympic sport for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.

So why bother with starting from scratch in another sport?

“To be honest, it was a curiosity thing,” said Coady, a Memorial University kinesiology student and admitted gym rat who is working out when he’s not training in karate every day.

“I just wanted to see what it’s about. Our provincial coach (Derek Ryan) suggested it, to see what I could do.”

Coady, who stands 5-11 and weighs 171 pounds, “definitely” hopes to vie for a spot on the national Olympic karate team, but is open to another sport if the opportunity presented itself.

“I wasn’t talking to too many people there (at the Training Ground Program stop), but I do know they were impressed with my overall athletic ability,” Coady said.

“After the sprint, Jerome Brennan (head strength and conditioning specialist at the NL Sports Centre) said, ‘I didn’t know you could run like that.’”

Last year, Andrew Wood of St. John's was the top performer in the Atlantic final. Wood, a member of the Memorial University Sea-Hawks track and field team, topped more than 100 athletes.

Wood attracted interest from Cycling Canada, but he has since returned to Memorial.

Officials from National Sports Organizations involved with the RBC Training Ground tour came from Canada Snowboard, Canada Basketball, Cross-Country Ski Canada, Wrestling Canada, Speed Skating Canada, Athletics Canada, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, Canoe Kayak Canada, Cycling Canada, Rowing Canada, Rugby Canada, Freestyle Canada, Judo Canada and Water Polo Canada.

robin.short@thetelegram.com

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