A 41-year-old Williams Lake Indian Band member continues to surprise himself, and his judo instructors.
Lennard Supernault, a single father of three who’s been living in Penticton since 2013 working as a heavy equipment operator, brought home a gold medal in his first-ever tournament in the 100-kilogram and over class at the April BC Open Judo Championships in Vernon.
As Supernault enters this year’s fall and winter judo season, he’s looking forward to seeing how he can improve himself even more.
“I wanted to do it for myself for a long time,” Supernault said. “Last year, my daughter was 14 at the time, and she was interested in checking it out but didn’t want to go by herself. I said I’d go with her and we started at the same time last September. We both fell in love with it from there.”
Learning the sport, however, was another matter as Supernault said he almost didn’t make it through the first month.
“I had to learn to defend myself from the ground on my back and it took me about a month,” he said. “The instructors just kept urging me to come back and said: ‘You’re going to learn a little bit more every time.’”
After some more training learning basic escapes and moves, Supernault said the sport has become a full-time passion for him.
His hard work and experience paid off at the BC Open Judo Championships in April when he shocked himself at the tournament with the gold-medal win.
“I wasn’t sure I was ready but my instructors urged me I was more than ready and figured I’d do quite well,” he said. “I ended up going against people who had years and years of experience — way higher belts than me.”
Lennard, a yellow belt in judo and a first-stripe white belt in jiu jitsu, defeated all comers at the event.
He said winning the tournament was a good all around experience for him.
While competing, advice from his instructors came into play.
“You never compete against the belt,” Supernault said his instructors told him. “That’s the way I approached it. I didn’t have any expectations. I just wanted to compete to see where my skill level was at, went in with an open mind and tried to do my best.”
Outside of the judo world, Supernault said his children, grandchild and work keep him busy.
He completed his heavy equipment operator certification in July of 2016 through Taylor Pro Industries in conjunction with the adult dogwood program through the Penticton Indian Band.
When he gets the chance, Supernault said he loves to come home to visit his large family and friends at Sugar Cane.
“I miss it,” he said. “I was born and raised there, but I enjoy the Okanagan now and consider it my second home.”
While visiting and working in Williams Lake, Supernault said he dropped by the Williams Lake Judo Club for some workouts.
“They welcomed me with open arms up there,” he said. “They were impressed I’d been training for such a little amount of time. That’s the most common thing I get. People say: ‘You’re only a white belt?’
“So it was really neat to get a chance to work with them and as a white belt to share some things with them.”
With this season’s training underway, and still enjoying judo with his daughter, Supernault said there’s a possibility he could attend the world championships in Australia in April.