Personal Best: ‘Future mayor’ hopes to run down Olympic dreams

The “future mayor” may also be a future Olympian.

Kai Guingona’s dad, Mike, is the mayor of Daly City and has served four previous terms since 1993. The extroverted 10-year-old judo junior national champion wishes to follow his father to City Hall.

Before a career in politics, though, the talented young athlete is thinking Olympics.

“I would like to go to the Olympics, if not in judo, in wrestling,” the younger Guingona said while taking a recent breather from a training class at Cahill’s Judo Academy in San Bruno. “If I don’t make the American team, I might make the Philippine team.”

Guingona beat familiar opponent Andrey Pluzhnik of Santa Clara by decision to take the gold of the 28-kilo boys intermediate division in July at the United States Judo Federation National Championships.

Before hitting the mat, however, Guingona was confronted with the challenge that is all too common for judoists: making the weight.

“I didn’t eat for two days before the weigh-in,” the green-belt judoist said. “It was hard while my friend Benji ate doughnuts and Cheetos in front of me, slowly.”

To ensure that he lost 1½ pounds to get down to 28 kilos (61.7 pounds), Guingona ran a mile before the weigh-in. The gold medal was his 40th medal, in addition to 10 trophies, he has won since Guingona discovered judo at age 4 and wrestling at 6.
At the 2008 California World Challenge, Guingona was second in the midget 55-pound freestyle division. He placed third in Greco Roman and fourth in folkstyle wrestling.

Along with his determination, it’s Kai’s physical fitness that gives him the advantage in the eyes of his dad. Mike points out that his son is in constant motion during the three-hour training class.

“My big concern is not to burn him out,” Mike said. “I certainly don’t want this to be the apex of his athletic career. I need to keep him down to earth.”

As Kai works on his technique, coach Willy Cahill looks on. “He’s an awesome kid, very coachable,” Cahill said. “You tell him what to do, and he does it; that’s how he got so good.”

This fall, as he enters sixth grade at Ralston Middle School in Belmont, Guingona’s extra-curricular activities will include both wrestling training and throwing down judo opponents after school at Cahill’s and at weekend tournaments.

 

The Kai Guingona file

 

WHAT: Junior judo champion

NICKNAME: “The Future Mayor”

JUDO HISTORY: Has been an Olympic sport since 1964

JUDO RULES: No kicks or punches are allowed in competitive judo; the focus is on grappling, throws, chokes and arm bars

UP NEXT: Kai will represent the U.S. in the Pan American Judo Championships in Panama City Thursday through Saturday

CAHILL’S JUDO ACADEMY: www.dawave.com or (650) 589-0724 

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