This weekend we took a trip to the midlands to take part in Warwick University Judo Club’s annual competition. It’s a small and friendly event with a good split of categories to provide anyone with a great opportunity to compete, and this year we had a mix of players getting their first competitive experience, some stepping up to a bigger competition, and others looking for a nice warmup ahead of the university championships next weekend.
First onto the mat once things got started were Sarah, Anastasija and Jade. Fighting in a pool of 4 in the o70kg category, Jade put on a very impressive performance for her first competition with a confident and attacking approach that took her to 3 wins and a conclusive gold medal.
Sarah was competing in a combined u48/u52kg group that meant a pool of 5 players. Despite losing her first contest, she was able to turn up the pressure in subsequent fights to score ippon wins on the ground and with powerful counter techniques. As an added bonus, a 3 way tie at the end of the group contests meant she had an extra 2 fights to decide the final ranking. After 6 fights with 4 wins she was 2nd overall and first of the u52kg players.
Anastasija was fighting in the u57kg category and again there was a single pool with 5 competitors. Despite being the lowest graded player in the group with just a few months of experience she fought very hard and took a very well earned win with 2 waza-ari throws to finish 4th in the group to take the second bronze medal.
As the girls were finishing their competition our entries to the male individual competition were taking to the mat. We had 2 players in this category for orange belt and below, Joe stepping up from his previous experience of local team competitions and Marc taking part in his first competition after a few months of experience.
Joe put on a very strong performance in the u81kg category in a pool of 5 with some confident wins but unfortunately he had drawn a very strong pool which was won by the players that would ultimately take the gold and silver medals so he was not able to proceed into the knockout stage.
Fighting at u90kg, and despite a niggling neck injury from a training session in the week, Marc won 2 out of 3 contests in his pool of 4 with very nice ashi-waza and kaeshi-waza techniques to proceed into the quarter final of the knockout. Despite a confident start in the contest his very tall opponent presented a difficult challenge and eventually caught Marc with a well timed foot sweep to put Marc out of the competition with a final 5th place position.
Once the individual contests were complete, the mens team competitions took to the mat, where we fielded an intermediate grade team with Joe, Callum and Daulet joined by Nathan Coles guesting with us at the u73kg slot. With the 6 teams (we were joined by 2 Warwick teams, and teams from Sheffield University, Bangor University and Samurai JC) set to compete in a single pool the scene was set for a busy afternoon.
Our first match was against Warwick 2 and with confident fighting from all players we took the win and progressed on to our second match with Bangor. They turned out to be the strongest team of the day and despite some spirited fighting we were unable to come out in front in this match. Bangor would go on to win all their matches to take a well earned gold medal position.
We won both of our next matches against Warwick 1 and Sheffield setting up a contest with Samurai that would decide the silver and bronze medal positions for the day. Again everyone fought with impressive energy after a long afternoon, in particular Joe put on a strong performance to try and even up the scores as 4th man but Samurai were able to edge us out and the final result was gold for Bangor, silver to Samurai and bronze for us.
Throughout the competition all our players fought very positively and everyone had some good results to feel good about and things that they can take away to work on. Aside from medal results, kudos goes to Joe who over the course of individual and team competitions had 9 hard contests and Daulet who won all his fights in the team competition with strong ippon victories.
Next stop is BUCS in Sheffield next weekend with the signs looking positive for some more success.
A few more photos on Flickr here – https://www.flickr.com/photos/southamptonuniversityjudo/albums/72157676731926473