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Sunflower State Games give nationally ranked kids the chance to win gold in Judo

Published: Jul. 10, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Two of the top judo competitors in the country showed off their skills Saturday morning at the Sunflower State Games.

Grab, pull, flip, twist, choke, pin. Judo is a competitive one-versus-one battle that starts with a bow to your opponent.

Sisters Bria and Paisley McCormick are some of the best at judo for their age in the country.

Bria said, “It’s just really fun throwing people down and listening to them just hit the mat.”

Paisley won first place in the bantam division for her age group at the USA Judo Youth National Championships in Salt Lake City, Utah at the end of April. Bria won second in the novice intermediate age group and third in the intermediate division. The two are looking to take the gold this weekend at the Sunflower State Games.

Paisley likes winning a lot and she said that it’s fine if you lose, but you’ll win more after. Bria’s excited knowing her club was hosting the event and having the home-mat advantage. Paisley was excited -- to meet new friends.

Paisley said, “I’m going to meet new people fighting and it’s going to be really fun.”

It’s not all about judo for them. They are kids enjoying life off the mat as well.

Paisley said, “I do gymnastics and my sister is in the same class as me.” Bria said, “I like to bake a lot.” When asked what kind of baking – she said vanilla cakes.

Judo Commissioner for SSG and their coach, Don Hinchsliff, said it’s kids like Bria and Paisley that are the reason the sport grows more and more in the state.

Alongside the more than 30 national championships brought to the state from their “After School Judo Academy” out of Olathe, KS.

Hinchsliff said, “I was the only national champion to come out of here prior to 2000. We’ve done a really good job on a national level but we do need to grow the sport of Judo in the state, throughout the state.”

Another medal was added to the collection Saturday. Both took first in the INJA and AAU-freestyle tournament for the Sunflower State Games, sponsored by WIBW. They will be going to Orlando, Florida to compete in the US Open later this year.

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