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Edmonton hosts largest ninja competition in Canadian history

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Hundreds of ninjas battled it out on obstacle courses in Edmonton over the weekend.

The Canadian Ninja Warrior Championship Races wrapped up at the Edmonton Expo Centre Sunday.

Ninja is a relatively new sport, where athletes test their strength, endurance and other skills on obstacle courses inspired by the popular American Ninja Warriors TV show.

The event was the first Canadian Ninja Warrior championship to be held in Edmonton and the largest yet. 

The owner of a local ninja gym said this year's 33 percent increase in attendance shows just how much traction the sport is gaining.

"It's growing rapidly," Fitset Ninja CEO Tim Gourlay said. "And it's continuing to grow right across the country."

The competition was held by the Canadian Ninja League, made up of 25 gyms across the country, and hosted by Fitset Ninja.

Gourley said 450 athletes from across Canada came to compete in front of an international audience.

"This is the largest ninja competition in Canadian history, so I think everyone is really pumped just at the growth of these events and being able to compete in front of a massive audience in-person here and online around the world," Gourlay added.

The competition Sunday ended with junior ninjas taking to the obstacle course.

"I'm reeling. I'm feeling really pumped," said Josiah Longman, winner of the boys 11 to 12 age group. "I'm really happy I was able to do my best – and I'm tired."

Longman is a long-time fan of the American Ninja Warriors television series and has been training as a ninja since 2020.

"I'm so happy the hard work paid off," he said. "I'm feeling amazing."

In October, it was announced that obstacle sports would be included in the 2028 Olympic Games as part of the modern pentathlon.

"Which is just a huge milestone for the sport and just an indicator that this thing is really continuing to grow," Gourlay said. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Brandon Lynch

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