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LIVING THE DREAM: Kingston girl turning heads in judo circuit


KINGSTON - Hailey Peddle has her preteen sights set on one thing — the Canada Games.

The 12-year-old Kingston resident won11 judo medals before her birthday in June, including a gold from an Under-14 Atlantic Canadian championship match she dominated in April.

Now in her sixth year of judo, the newly-promoted blue belt regularly fights up a level in the U16 age class — and wins. In May, she won gold as a U16 competitor at the Numa Cup tournament in Halifax.

The Pine Ridge Middle School student practices several times a week, travels for competitions and even works with a personal trainer to build upper body strength in the off season.

“It is a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” she says.

“Last summer, when I didn’t do it, I ended up having a hard time coming back into it.”

Serious about judo

She may be young, but she’s serious about judo. And both club mates and opponents alike are taking notice.

“People know who she is,” says Hailey’s proud father, Matthew Peddle.

Hailey belongs to the Hachikin Judo Club in Greenwood, but she’s trained under a number of mentors who have competed at the national and international levels.

“They tell me to make sure that my moves are clean and not take the easy way out,” she says.

Sensei Charlene Tanner has worked with Hailey since her early days with the sport.

“She’ll try just about anything,” said Tanner. “She’s so eager.”

Tanner can easily envision Hailey advancing to national level competitions. 

“If she keeps the passion for judo that she has — and keeps that attitude and keeps working hard — there’s no doubt in my mind she will.”

She admires her student’s ability to own mistakes and put good sportsmanship above all else. The upcoming fall season will be an important turning point in Hailey’s judo career, Tanner said.

“She’s reached a level now that it’s time to push the envelope.”

Coming from a military family, Hailey has a strong appreciation for structure and respect. She’s a fierce but cordial competitor, always willing to take advice from anyone willing to share some pointers.

“I’m always going to put in hard work no matter if somebody notices or not,” she said.

 A family affair

The eldest of three sisters, Hailey has two siblings following in her footsteps.

“The one just below her is nipping on her heels all of the time,” said Matthew Peddle, referring to his middle daughter,10-year-old Erika.

“She’s never catching me,” Hailey adds.

Like any athlete, Hailey suffered her fair share of discouraging defeats before she found her confidence. There were even days she had to be pushed out on the mat for a match.

But those days are over.

“It’s fun!” Hailey exclaims. “The exhilaration that you get as soon as you step onto the mat in a tournament... you can’t hear anything but what your coach is yelling in Japanese.”

Hailey’s love of judo has spread throughout her household. Her mother, Stephanie Peddle, joined the Hachikin Judo Club to gain a better understanding of what her daughters are experiencing and see what it’s like to face Hailey.

“The first time she threw me, she got me pretty good,” her mom admits with a laugh.

As for Dad, he couldn’t be more pleased that his daughters ended up in judo instead of dance.

“With them all doing one sport, they’re bonding,” he said. 

“I’m going to have the pleasure of worrying about my girls beating up the boys and not worrying about the boys hurting my girls.”

 

The 12-year-old Kingston resident won11 judo medals before her birthday in June, including a gold from an Under-14 Atlantic Canadian championship match she dominated in April.

Now in her sixth year of judo, the newly-promoted blue belt regularly fights up a level in the U16 age class — and wins. In May, she won gold as a U16 competitor at the Numa Cup tournament in Halifax.

The Pine Ridge Middle School student practices several times a week, travels for competitions and even works with a personal trainer to build upper body strength in the off season.

“It is a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” she says.

“Last summer, when I didn’t do it, I ended up having a hard time coming back into it.”

Serious about judo

She may be young, but she’s serious about judo. And both club mates and opponents alike are taking notice.

“People know who she is,” says Hailey’s proud father, Matthew Peddle.

Hailey belongs to the Hachikin Judo Club in Greenwood, but she’s trained under a number of mentors who have competed at the national and international levels.

“They tell me to make sure that my moves are clean and not take the easy way out,” she says.

Sensei Charlene Tanner has worked with Hailey since her early days with the sport.

“She’ll try just about anything,” said Tanner. “She’s so eager.”

Tanner can easily envision Hailey advancing to national level competitions. 

“If she keeps the passion for judo that she has — and keeps that attitude and keeps working hard — there’s no doubt in my mind she will.”

She admires her student’s ability to own mistakes and put good sportsmanship above all else. The upcoming fall season will be an important turning point in Hailey’s judo career, Tanner said.

“She’s reached a level now that it’s time to push the envelope.”

Coming from a military family, Hailey has a strong appreciation for structure and respect. She’s a fierce but cordial competitor, always willing to take advice from anyone willing to share some pointers.

“I’m always going to put in hard work no matter if somebody notices or not,” she said.

 A family affair

The eldest of three sisters, Hailey has two siblings following in her footsteps.

“The one just below her is nipping on her heels all of the time,” said Matthew Peddle, referring to his middle daughter,10-year-old Erika.

“She’s never catching me,” Hailey adds.

Like any athlete, Hailey suffered her fair share of discouraging defeats before she found her confidence. There were even days she had to be pushed out on the mat for a match.

But those days are over.

“It’s fun!” Hailey exclaims. “The exhilaration that you get as soon as you step onto the mat in a tournament... you can’t hear anything but what your coach is yelling in Japanese.”

Hailey’s love of judo has spread throughout her household. Her mother, Stephanie Peddle, joined the Hachikin Judo Club to gain a better understanding of what her daughters are experiencing and see what it’s like to face Hailey.

“The first time she threw me, she got me pretty good,” her mom admits with a laugh.

As for Dad, he couldn’t be more pleased that his daughters ended up in judo instead of dance.

“With them all doing one sport, they’re bonding,” he said. 

“I’m going to have the pleasure of worrying about my girls beating up the boys and not worrying about the boys hurting my girls.”

 

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