For the past 11 months South Euclid resident Nathanael Honvou has had to keep secret the outcome of this season’s American Ninja Warrior Junior.
But after Friday night’s airing of the show’s finals on Universal Kids, it’s no longer under wraps. Honvou is the American Ninja Warrior Junior champion.
“This means so much, this is just amazing,” Honvou, aka “Ninja Nutin,” told hosts Akbar Gbajabiamila and Matt Iseman after completing the course in the fastest time in his division (ages nine and 10) to beat out his competitor.
Honvou and his mother, Aria, traveled to L.A. last July to film the competition, but they have had to keep the results a secret for the past 11 months. Honvou made the finals earlier this year. Now rhat the finale aired Friday, June 12, he is free to talk about his win.
“I was really excited,” Honvou says of his accomplishment. “I definitely didn’t think I would get that far. There are a lot of good ninjas that are as good as me, if not better. It was luck and skill.”
Honvou’s competitor fell off the course early, and he says he heard the water splash, but kept competing. He says family and friends have congratulated him all weekend and are happy for him.
His mother says she was nervous during the competition last July, and spent time preparing her son for a potential letdown if he didn’t win. “He’s so young, and I didn’t want him to be disappointed,” she recalls. “I [told him] it’s okay to get second place, it’s all right. But this is a really big deal—it’s like the Olympics for ninjas.”
Aria says the reaction since Friday has been great. “I think a lot of people thought he’d do good, but they didn’t think he’d win the whole thing.”
Honvou is basking in the glow of his win. “It feels good,” he says, adding that he has no plans on stopping his ninja competition now.