It was time to get some competitive judo underway for the new academic year today, with a small but strong team off to the London Universities Open at the University of East London SportsDock. Having been running for a few years now, this competition has gone from strength to strength to become a highlight of university judo.
First on the mat today was first year student Edgar Polovinkins making his first appearance as a Southampton University player but with a solid track record as a junior player. Fighting in the junior U81 category there was a fairly straightforward first round contest and then things steadily got more serious with a number of international players present in the group. A gripping oriented semi final against a Luxembourg player led to a final against a strong player from Strathclyde. Unfortunately a strong reverse seoi nage technique provide tricky to avoid and Edgar had to settle for silver.
Next in action was Alexandry Augustin, making his first competitive outing for some years. A strong run of contests with some determined defense saw Alex make his way to the semi final in the Kyu grade U81 category before dropping to the bronze medal final. Unfortunately fatigue started to become a factor and Alex was caught out with a strong foot sweep from his fast starting opponent to finish the day in 5th position.
Having done a fine job of organizing our attendance at the event, Callum was next up, having the experience of fighting up in the U90 weight group and against higher graded opposition. Losing his first contest to a strong player from Oxford University, Callum fought back in the repechage to make his way to the bronze medal contest. Unfortunately he again found himself facing his first round opposition from Oxford and was not able to turn the previous result around so also ended the day in 5th place.
Final group of the day for us was the senior U81 category with Marc Morris and a second appearance from Edgar. Unfortunately Marc injured his shoulder when thrown in his first round contest and had to withdraw but once again Edgar pushed strongly through the knockout to the final. Once again he faced the Strathclyde player and could not change the earlier result and came out with his second silver medal of the day.
A great day of judo with strong performances for everyone. Great to come away with some good results but just as importantly everyone knows what they need to work on in the next few months before the University championships in February.