Team NT has won its first medal of the Canada Winter Games courtesy of Yellowknifer Wilson Elliot who won the bronze medal in judo early Wednesday afternoon in Red Deer.

Elliot was defeated by Ian Ryder, from BC, in the semi-final, however, he bounced back to take bronze in the +81 kg judo event after beating Manitoba’s Ijob Hamraev in the bronze medal match.

The 18-year-old Elliot was a junior national champion in 2018 and was on the Canada team at the Pan American Junior Championships last year.

He says winning Canada Games bronze ranks alongside those two in his top three lifetime achievements, despite initially hoping to win gold here in Red Deer.

“I’m pretty proud. I was thinking, ‘I have to win this one.’ I didn’t want to leave without a medal. I was really focused.”

Coach Mario Desforges echoed Elliot’s sentiment and added that winning the bronze is harder because you’ve just lost and you have to pump up yourself. Desforges also added that Elliot has great potential for the next level.

“If he keeps going and pushes himself, he has the profile for [the Olympics in] 2028. Step by step, he can do it. He has proved that he can do it.”

This is the second Canada Winter Games in a row at which the NWT’s judo program has won a medal, following silver for Brent Betsina in 2015.