Airdrie athlete earns spot on national team
A local karate competitor has finally earned her shot on the big stage.
Airdronian Emily Lambert was named to the Canadian National Junior Karate team after her silver-medal performance at nationals last weekend in Richmond, B.C. The 17-year-old was competing in the 18-20 division, in the age group above her own.
She earned bronze at the three previous nationals, just outside of the national team standard, so breaking through to the top level had her feeling pretty excited.
“It feels so awesome after four years of training hard to finally reach my goal,” Lambert said. “I wasn’t really sure if I was going to finals or not, and when you go to finals, you make the team. I looked over at my coaches (after the fifth fight) and they gave me this big smile. At that moment I knew and just started crying. I was so happy.”
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” said her father Gary. “It just blew me away. She fought so well last weekend. We support her all the way. This is what she wanted.”
Lambert’s first time representing Canada will be at the North American Cup, between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, in Las Vegas on April 5. She will then compete at the U.S. Open, also in Las Vegas, between April 7 to 8.
She will also enter the 2012 Junior Pan American Championships in Cancun at the end of August. The George McDougall student said she is looking forward to all of the new experiences and travel opportunities, even if it takes away some time from her education.
“My teachers and my principal are all very accommodating,” said Lambert, who is originally from Newfoundland and Labrador and moved to Airdrie six years ago.
“They’re all really supportive of my competitions. They cheer me on. If I have tests, they’ll move them forward and go easy on me with the homework.”
At nationals last weekend, she had five fights before the final. She only lost two of them – both to the same competitor in the higher age group.
“Competing in the older division was mostly just for experience. It’s a little bit different, and has a little more contact, but it gave me an extra push. I had to change my mindset a little bit as it became the most important division for me,” Lambert said.
“I was mostly nervous. The whole day I was running through my head about what if this happens, what if that happens, what if I don’t do it. There was so much going through my head. Half my life is karate, and I enjoy it so much, so I’m happy I’ll be getting to train all week and get to go to such big events.