Former Williams Lake resident Tim Rees hopes to bring home a medal for Canada when he competes in judo at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Rees, 31, who grew up in Williams Lake and whose parents, Kathy and Walter, still live in the community, will arrive in London this Friday, Aug. 24 to prepare for the competition, which takes place Sept. 1.
“There’s not much time left now,” Rees said with a chuckle. “I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve been working pretty hard doing a lot of judo.”
Rees will be competing in the under-100 kilogram weight class as one of 12 of the best visually-impaired judo players in his weight class in the world.
He said knowing some of the Canadians who competed at the London Olympics in judo helped set the stage for what he hopes to achieve.
“It was exciting [the Olympics] but it makes you nervous to see the venue where it’s taking place,” he said. “I know some of the guys who were fighting in the Olympics and it was inspiring.”
When he arrives in London Friday he and fellow Canadian teammates will be put through an orientation before getting down to some light daily training leading up to the event.
Rees’s event starts at 11 a.m. Sept. 1 and wraps up around 5 p.m. with the bronze- and gold-medal matches. Judo features an elimination-style format. Rees said winning his first match is key to advancing in the tournament.
“Losing the first match is a pretty sure way to get knocked out of the tournament,” he said. “If you lose that the only way you can get back in the tournament is if the person who beats you makes it to the final. Then you have an opportunity to fight for bronze if you win all your next matches.”
He said the competition should be tightly contested but thinks he’s capable of getting on the podium.
“I’ll have to have a really good day to do that because the top four or five guys in the division are very, very tough,” he said. “But I think it’s realistic [to medal]. All the guys in the top are capable of winning. I don’t want to sound overconfident but I think if I get in there and have a good day then I can contend with any of the people in my division.”
Rees currently lives in Victoria with his wife Aya and two sons, and trains at the Victoria Judo Club.
Rees’s event will be streamed live at www.paralympic.ca.