After a year out, we were back at the London University Open on Sunday Nov 23. This year had Marc, Szymon, Will, Ben and Callum taking part. As ever the level of the competition was high and was great experience for everyone in advance of BUCS next term.
Ben and Will got things started in the u60 and u66 categories respectively. Unfortunately despite some spirited fighting Ben was not able to proceed from the pool stage. Will did not have much more luck in his contests despite some strong tomoe-nage attacks.
Marc was in action next at U73, having had his preparation for the competition hampered by an injured hand. A slightly shakey start in his first contest saw him in the repechage stage earlier than planned but he stepped it up in the following contests to show good fitness and tactical awareness. The effort took its toll however and in the fight for a place in the bronze medal match he lost out to a much fresher player to finally finish in 7th place.
Finally Callum and Szymon were up at U81. For Callum it was a new challenge as the grade banding meant he was one of the lowest graded players in the category. There was not a lot of sign of that in his first contest as he showed a great level of fitness to dominate the contest and proceed to the second round. Szymon also fought well to take his place in the second round.
Things got a lot harder in the second round with both facing strong players from Oxford University and being relegated to the repechage. Szymon continued his habit of meeting favourites early by meeting the eventual gold medallist while Callum’s swiss opponent eventually ended up with bronze.
Callum was unable to progress after facing a much more experienced opponent but Szymon got right back in the mix to make his way to fight for a place in the bronze medal contest. After a tough contest he was leading with a few seconds to go but a momentary loss of focus saw him caught for ippon and a final position of 7th.
A long and tough day but a lot of valuable experience for everyone to build on for the competitions coming up in the new year.