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This article was published 10/3/2015 (2458 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Portage la Prairie was well-represented at the recent Canada Winter Games as local athletes Natasha Burton and Ryan Walker won bronze medals in individual judo events.
Burton, 17, competed in the female individual up to 57 kilograms category. She won two matches, only losing to Ontario’s Jessica Klimkalt, who took home the gold medal.
"I’m excited about my win," Burton said.
She was confident entering the Games, held in Prince George, B.C., as she’d recently earned third place in the U.S. Open competition in Florida, as well as a second-place win at the Judo Canada Nationals in Quebec last May.
Walker, 18, holds a brown belt and has been a member of the Portage Judo Club for six years.
He also won two matches in the male individual up to 81 kilograms event at the Games, but lost to a strong competitor from Saskatchewan who, he said, got the better of him.
Walker is also no stranger to national and international competition and has won medals at previous events.
He said his commitment to judo stems from his interest in mixed martial arts – an interest that he intends to pursue after he graduates from Portage Collegiate and moves into Winnipeg later this year.
Both athletes speak highly about their experiences at the Winter Games and participation on Team Manitoba.
"It was a great feeling representing Manitoba," Burton said.
Walker said he got a bit emotional when the bell rang ending his last match and he realized that he was receiving a bronze medal.
"It was a pretty unreal experience," he said.
Both Portage athletes are competing in the Edmonton International Judo Championships from March 13 to 15.
St. Vital community correspondent
Andrea Geary is a community correspondent for St. Vital and was once the community journalist for The Headliner.