Bahamians Win Two Bronze for Judo at Commonwealth Youth Games

By Gena Gibbs
Bahamas Information Services

NASSAU, The Bahamas — The Bahamas has made its way into the competitive world of international Judo, on July 19th, at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, held at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium with Kara Hanna, a blue belt, and Mya Beneby, a purple belt, both emerging global competitors with bronze medals.

Said Kara Hanna – the training is not as easy as it may seem:“it’s really hard and intense, but we just really are dedicated to being the best; first in the Caribbean. I personally want to be the best in my division in the world, so I put in a lot of time.

From left to right are Derron Donaldson, Team Mission Chief; Kara Hanna, Judo +70 Kg bronze medalist; Rommel “Fish” Knowles, CYG Deputy Chairman; Mya Beneby, -57Kg bronze medalist; and Judo Coach Cynthia Rahming. (BIS Photo/ Derek Smith)

“We train with the guys, not only females. We train with the guys, so we can have that strength that we need to beat those other girls, who are really, really good and the competitions really help, like when we go away to travel and we compete. It gives us that ability to actually want to be better, if we lose. If we win, it gives us more motivation to push forward.”

Kara Hanna (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)

Kara, who is 17 years old is in the “plus 70 Kg” division and has only been doing Judo for 10 months. Mya, who is 14 years old, is classified in the “minus 57 Kg” division and has only been doing Judo for one year. Both young ladies have overcome all their opponents, who currently hold black belts in the sport.

“Now, training for the Commonwealth Games started from when I first started doing Judo. We would focus on tournaments that were up close, but all of it was leading up to the Commonwealth Youth Games. I have a medal in different tournaments. I have a medal in the Barbados Open; I have a medal in the Florida Open; a medal in CARIFTA; and now I have a medal in the Commonwealth Games [Youth]. And it feels really good to be one of the first Bahamians to ever medal in the Commonwealth Youth Games. But training up to the Commonwealth Youth Games was really intense; we started training like way harder than usual,” said Mya Beneby.

Mya Beneby (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)

Mya added that they were subject to Intense Focus Training, where they were exposed to diversified training methods from experts from around the world. They were both moved into an Athletes’ Camp, where they woke up at 6:00 a.m. and were put on a vigorous workout schedule, up to three times a day. She said they also had to return to the Camp to go to sleep at a set bedtime.

The two champions have attributed their speedy success to their deep belief in God as the source of their strength, as well as the regimen of discipline the sport exposes them to, with the guide of an excellent coach, Cynthia Rahming.

“They had no martial arts experience before coming to Judo. Each of these girls have only been training for Judo for under a year. It’s quite amazing,” said Coach Rahming.

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