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Mother inspires Saskatoon athlete to fight for gold

Watch above: A former Saskatchewan Olympian is teaching her son to fight his way to another national championship, this time in judo. Jack Haskins reports.

SASKATOON – Saskatoon’s Justin Filteau knows what it takes to be a champion on the gridiron. But now, he’s set his sights on another goal thanks to a hero of his.

He grew up playing hockey, was recruited to play football for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and has a brown belt in judo.

The person who ignited his passion for judo is his mother, Nancy Jewitt-Filteau, a former athlete who represented Canada at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

“People ask me, ‘what are you proud of in your life’ and I’m always like ‘my mom went to the Olympics,” said Filteau.

READ MORE: Three former Hilltops ready to tackle new challenge with the Huskies

Filteau has faced challenges. In high school, the five-foot nine teenager was told he was too small to play middle linebacker.

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With lessons learned from this mother, he went on to play five seasons with the Saskatoon Hilltops in the Canadian Junior Football League. He won four national titles and was named a conference all-star twice.

Like his mother, Filteau says he won’t let anyone tell him what he can’t do.

“I think if you’ve got dreams or goals you’ve got to just figure out how to make them come true,” said Jewitt-Filteau.

“I’m really proud of Justin, like I know he’s had some tough goes and I know we’ve had some long heart-to-heart discussions and that’s what I’ve always told him, ‘it doesn’t matter what anybody says you can do anything you set your mind to.”

Filteau will now fight to win another national championship – in judo.

“I’ve competed at a national level for football, I want to compete at a national level for judo,” he said.

Filteau leaves for Quebec on Wednesday to compete at the judo national championships.

Jack Haskins contributed to this story.

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