Tristan Alexander knows all about the advantages that come with age.
And at this year’s Western Canada Summer Games the Oak Bay teen believes experience will finally be on his side.
Alexander, 17, is one of the 14 athletes selected by Judo BC to compete for Team BC at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games.
“This is the first year that I’m at the top of my age category, before I was always the youngest by about two years,” said Alexander.
“It’s been kind of hard on me. But I’ve soldiered through that and now I’m on the top, so hopefully I can use that to my advantage, the age and strength difference.”
Alexander will compete in the U-18 division in the 86-kilograms and over category at the Western Games set for Wood Buffalo, Alta. this August.
At six-foot-six and weighing in at 275 pounds, Alexander is often paired off against older competitors.
“In my age category, I don’t have much competition in B.C. I end up fighting older guys. I’ve always had to fight guys who are U-21,” he said. “I tried to qualify for the Canada Winter Games and I had to fight a guy who was 19 or 20.”
While Alexander has brought home three bronze medals as well as a fourth-place finish from the Canadian Judo Championships, he says the Western Games will be his biggest competition to date.
“I kind of feel this is a more high-profile tournament just because all the sports are involved.”
Before heading the Western Canada Summer Games, Alexander will head back to the nationals, being held May 14-17 in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.
Alexander is facing an uphill battle preparing for the nationals and Western Games after missing 10 weeks to injury.
“It’s been four weeks since I’ve been back training, so it’s tough but I think I got over it. It still bugs me but I’m pushing through it,” said Alexander, who injured his knee playing with the Victoria Ice Hawks Midget AAA team.
Alexander has been involved in judo since his dad introduced him to the sport at age seven.
“It’s not only the physical activity, it’s also training your mind. It’s a lot about respect and getting knowledge from older, more experienced people,” said Alexander, who credits his coaches and other members of the Victoria Judo Club for making the countless hours of training enjoyable.
“Everyone’s so friendly in this sport, I haven’t met anybody I don’t like. Even the guys I fight against, I go and have dinner with them after.”