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Ukrainian athlete in Nova Scotia now a rising star in Canadian judo


Sixteen-year-old Sasha Kaplin has a simple judo strategy.

“Just grab someone and throw," said Kaplin. "It is your job.”

The Kaplin family arrived in Canada last April. They fled the war in Ukraine to start a new life in Nova Scotia.

“I have food, I have a house and I have everything,” said Kaplin.

Kaplin also possesses what his coach called a world-class talent and ability in judo.

“He’s very good for a young athlete," said Jason Scott. "He is very strong. I see drive, strength and confidence.”

When Kaplin first came to Canada, right away, he started competing and the judo medals are now piling up.

So are the opportunities to compete for Nova Scotia on the national stage.

“He’s going to the Elite-8, which is the top eight people in Canada for his division," said Scott. "If he wins it, he will go to a European tour for Canada.”

Kaplin has main two goals. One is long-term.

“The Olympics, it is best of the best,” said Kaplin.

Short term, he hopes to join team Nova Scotia at the upcoming 2023 Canada Winter Games.

“I would like to represent our small province,” said Kaplin.

His coach said Kaplin should easily qualify for the Canada Games.

“The only problem that we are having now, is that you have to be a resident,” said Scott.

Kaplin hasn’t lived in Canada long enough and the eligibility deadline is fast approaching.

How much does he want to be a part of the Canada Games experience?

“I can’t explain. Like, so much,” said Kaplin.

Kaplin, happy to be living in Nova Scotia, said he simply wants the opportunity to win a gold medal for his adopted home province.

“Guy from small town, who can beat everybody,” said Kaplin.

A healthy and competitive attitude for a young man who is making a name for himself in the sport of judo, just seven months after escaping the war in Ukraine. Top Stories

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