BUCS Judo Championships 2017

February 25, 2017

One week on from the trip to Warwick, it was time for the rather more serious proposition of the BUCS Judo championships. This is the biggest judo event for UK universities and colleges, and attracts a wide range of abilities from those starting out in judo, through national squad players, up to the highest level with Emmanuel Nartey who competed at the London Olympics for Ghana and is currently studying at the University of East London taking part as the defending champion at U73kg.

The event is split into two tiers – a championship for Kyu grades (coloured belts) and the marquee Dan grade event for brown and black belt players. We had just one player in the Dan grade category with Edgar Polovinkins at U81Kg and 3 players entered in the Kyu grade event – Sarah Wilmore at U52kg, Daulet Illyasso at U81kg and Callum Rollo at U90kg.

The event is held at part of the larger BUCS Championship weekend in Sheffield so on Friday afternoon we headed out into the weekend traffic to wind our way up to the weigh in. After a rather tedious time in M1 traffic we made the weigh in in good time, licenses had been renewed along the way (!), and all players made their weight with no need for any last minute drastic efforts to save a few grams.

All that was left was to find our way to our slightly eery motel style accommodation, fill up on pasta and get an early-ish night.

Individual Championship

Day 1 of the event is the individual championship and with 2 parallel competitions across all weights, the timetable was packed and we had players scheduled to compete from the beginning of the day through to the very end.

Judo events typically run in the same way as the football world championships – a group/pool stage where all concerned compete with the other pool members to earn entry into the knockout stage. Contests are schedule for 4 to 5 minutes depending on level but an outright win (ippon) can come at any time from a clean throw, a 20 second hold down, or a submission.


Edgar throws for ippon with harai goshi

First out to get things started was Edgar who was in a pool of 3 players, and he immediately showed his class with his first contest over in 7 seconds with a very nice harai goshi in the middle of the mat. His second contest was over even faster as he threw his opponent for ippon with seoi nage in just 5 seconds. That put him nicely through to the knockout stage in the afternoon.

Next out was Daulet who had a pool of 4 players. Like Edgar he was clearly in no mood to spend too much time fighting and his first contest was over and done with in 8 seconds with a powerful tai otoshi throw. His second contest took a little longer but was still a convincing win scoring first with tai otoshi again, before then scoring ippon with his favourite ura nage pickup. His final contest returned to efficiency, throwing again with tai otoshi for a waza-ari score and finishing off with an armlock to gain a submission, finishing the contest in 17 seconds. That put Daulet into the knockout stage as well having won his pool convincingly.


Daulet throws for waza-ari with tai otoshi before finishing the contest with an armlock


Things got more hectic as we moved into the afternoon. First we had Callum in the U90kg pool stage. With a pool of 3 players to compete with and he was able to win both his contests convincingly, first with a hold and then with a nicely executed sumi gaeshi sacrifice throw.


Callum, holding for ippon

Next we had Edgar returning for the knockout stage in the U81kg category. Having made the pool look easy, we knew the knockout would be a different proposition with the middle weights always being packed with good quality players. A relatively comfortable win against a “home” Sheffield player in the first round set him up with a quarter final against Gytis Jucikas from Nottingham University. This turned into a battle of wills with each player scoring multiple times with the lowest yuko score and conceding penalties for technical infringements of the contest rules. After 5 minutes of tense competition the contest went to Gytis with 4 yukos to Edgar’s 3. Unfortunately, perhaps partly due to fatigue from the quarter final, Gytis was thrown for ippon in the semi final which meant Edgar was not given the chance to compete for bronze via the repechage.

The last player to get started for the day was Sarah. With a smaller entry for the lighter women’s weight groups Sarah was competing in a combined U48kg/U52kg category as in the previous week’s competition at Warwick. Some strong players were present in the U52kg sub section and unfortunately Sarah wasn’t able to follow up the Warwick gold with a BUCS medal.

Next to return for the knockout was Daulet. With a bye in the first round, he entered the competition in the round of 16 and this time won with a choke on his opponent from Oxford. That set up a quarter final with a russian player, Dmitry Nikonov, from Loughborough; this turned out to be the toughest contest of the day and Dmitry showed that he was very keen not to be caught by Daulet’s big throws with some very strong defense. Eventually he wore Daulet down and was able to pin him in a hold down to move onto the semi final. Fortunately a rapid win in the semi final for Dmity meant that Daulet would return in the repechage to compete for a bronze medal.

In the repechage things returned to fast and efficient work and in the first round Daulet produced another armlock in under 20 seconds to setup a bronze medal fight against Edmund Richens from Anglia Ruskin. Once again the tai otoshi throw was brought out and the bronze medal secured in just 15 seconds.


Winning the bronze medal in style

Final contests for the day for our team was Callum in the U90kg knockout. His first contest in the quarter final stage was another quick encounter with his opponent thrown in 9 seconds with o uchi gari. The semi final was a more cagey affair against a lively player from the strong looking Durham team. Playing things carefully, Callum was able to throw twice for waza-ari and moved into the final.

His opponent in the final, Cian Grace from Leeds, had looked good in earlier contests with some very clean throws so we knew this was going to be a difficult proposition. That proved to be the case and a nicely timed throw caught Callum out, but left him a very worthy winner of the silver medal.


Bronze for Daulet (right)


Silver for Callum (left)

After collecting our rewards for the day is was back to the hotel for some recovery before returning on Sunday for the team competition.

Team Competition

The Sunday at BUCS is a team judo competition. Players are organised by weight and institution teams compete for the highly regarded trophies, in particular the Yukio Tani vase awarded to the winning men’s team.

While we have had some success in the competition in the past, this time we knew we were going to need an awful lot of luck to make it very far – a team of only 3 men where up to 5 are allowed meant that we could not lose any contests! Unfortunately the draw was not kind to us with Bath, Nottingham and Wolverhampton in our pool. Seeing Bath in the pool is always challenging but the seeded team was Nottingham who were medallists from the previous year. As it turned out, Wolverhampton were also a force to be reckoned with.

It was an uphill battle. After a losing convincingly to Wolverhampton, Edgar and Callum ensured we did not go home without victories in our matches with Nottingham and Bath, but ultimately the pool was won by Wolverhampton with Nottingham second, and they went on to take gold and bronze medals respectively in the knockout. Wolverhampton completed a successful day by also winning the women’s team competition.

After 2 hard days of judo, it was a slightly smoother drive back south, some people happy to have come home with medals and others with a clearer idea of the level of competition to prepare for in coming years.

Well done to all who took part, and big thanks to Sarah who took on the bulk of the organisational duties.

BUCS Wrap Up

February 24, 2014

Another good weekend at BUCS. A single bronze medal perhaps doesn’t really feel like a fair reward for the efforts put in over the weekend because everyone put in some great performances but it does underline how the quality of judo at the event is continuing to rise.

The good news is that most of this years players will be with us again next year and those who were making their BUCS debut know what to expect next year and will have a better idea of the level they need to aim for to be able to improve next year.

Well done to everyone that attended for their efforts in their own contests and for supporting your team mates. Apologies for the contests I missed seeing – it seemed they managed to schedule even more of our players in parallel this year than ever!

See you all on the mat soon!

BUCS 2014 – Day 2

February 24, 2014

Day 2 at BUCS and aching bodies get dragged back to the venue for the team competition. With a stronger team than we have been able to field in recent years we were hopeful that we could improve on recent results but still very aware of how strong the competition has become.

The draw was held first thing in the morning and we were rewarded with a place in the only 4 team pool, facing Edinburgh, Imperial and Warwick. None of the teams were outright favourites but all very strong – getting out of the pool was suddenly looking like a bigger challenge than anticipated.

Edinburgh were on the mat first against Imperial and it was a bit of a surprise to see Edinburgh lose 5-0 and they were suddenly very interested in the outcome of the other matches in the pool!

Southampton vs Warwick

Our first match was against Warwick and with lightweights fighting first, Will was our first man. In a very close fought match, he just failed to convert opportunities for an armlock and strangle and was robbed of a hold by a hasty refereeing decision but was holding a slim lead in penalties. Then as we headed into the end of the contest he conceded a yuko and was behind. With a great display of determination he kept fighting and scored his own yuko with tomoe nage with only seconds left on the clock.

Marc was the next man out with a cagey contest against a strong 1st dan. Eventually he was able to pin his opponent for ippon with 20 seconds remaining.

With a 2 win lead, Szymon was facing Warwick’s strongest player, Thomas Grandjean. He put in a very solid performance, taking a lead by penalties earlier on but struggling to convert his many attacks into a score. At just over 3 minutes a tomoe nage attempt was countered with a strong pin for ippon.

4th man in our team was Callum, feeling good after a strong performance on Saturday but well aware that he would be facing much stronger opposition in the team event. That proved to be the case here, with his much stronger opponent throwing for ippon in 14s the fastest contest so far.

That left the result 2-2 as we headed into the final contest with Alex fighting up a weight in the over 90 category. With instructions to keep the pace fast to play to his size advantage he did exactly that and was able to pull off a lovely ippon throw to give us victory in the match.

Warwick were then straight back on the mat against Imperial who showed they were clearly on a mission also beating Warwick 3-2.

Southampton vs Edinburgh

Next up was the match we expected to be hardest with Edinburgh having brought Roy Shepherd, silver medallist from the previous day back into the team to replace a player injured in their previous match.

Will was clearly not in a losing mood today and this time he opened our account with ippon from a counter in just 20 seconds.

Unfortunately the strength in depth of the Edinburgh team meant that we were unable to make any further inroads ending up 4-1 down.

Southampton vs Imperial

With Edinburgh having defeated Warwick they were now on 2 wins and very keen to see what would happen to the overall result after our match with Imperial who also had 2 wins.

Once again Will fought a blinding match and reversed his opponent’s attack with a powerful ura-nage style counter after 1m20s. After a little referee debate and video review he was awarded the contest and we were off to another strong start.

Imperial were also determined however and despite strong attacks Marc was not able to get close enough to their second man who eventually won with 2 waza-ari throws.

Szymon then threw everything at his opponent and clearly wearing him down eventually secured a strong reverse juji gatame armlock to win by ippon and put us into a 2-1 lead.

Callum then faced his toughest contest so far against the u90 individual silver medallist. Unfortunately it wasn’t a huge surprise when Imperial evened the score to 2-2.

That left us with everything to play for in the final contest. Alex was sent out with the same game plan but faced with an o100 kg player while he had weighed in at 86kg it was a big ask and this time despite some strong attacks he was not able to dictate the fast pace that might have helped him to win and was eventually overpowered and thrown for ippon.

That left us 3rd in the pool with Edinburgh and Imperial going through to the knockout.

In a reversal of fortunes from the pool, Edinburgh were able to secure a bronze medal while an unfortunate draw put Imperial into matches against first Bath and then Anglia Ruskin.

Final team result:

  1. Heriot Watt
  2. Bath
  3. Anglia Ruskin, Edinburgh

Full team results can be found here : http://www.judotechnologies.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/BUCS-National-Championships-2014-Results.pdf

BUCS 2014 – Day 1

February 24, 2014

It was a typically hectic start to the BUCS weekend with 7 players in action across various categories.

U81 Dan Grades

First action of the day was with Marc and Szymon in the always large u81 dan grade group. Both had similar experiences in their pools, winning one contest but losing to a stronger opponent but it was enough to take them to the knockout stage. Rather cruel luck with the knockout draw meant that each drew the player the other had lost to in the pools. Both stepped up to the challenge,  Szymon taking an early yuko lead in his contest but unfortunately getting caught for waza ari and a hold down with around a minute to go. Marc had the tougher draw against Roy Shepherd from Edinburgh and though he fought well was caught for a big ippon hip throw to leave him waiting to see if he might come back into the repechage.

U90 and U66 Dan Grades

Meanwhile various other categories had been kicking off. Will had drawn a tough pool in u66 kg dan grades, with 2 experienced players. Despite some strong attacks and determined fighting he wasn’t able to get the win he needed to go on to the knockout stage. Alex was making his BUCS debut at u90 kg and also drew a very tough pool and was not able to make his way to the knockout.

Kyu Grades

In the kyu grade categories, Dan was up first in u73 and though carrying a knee injury from his last training session he recovered from the loss of his first contest (to the eventual gold medallist) to win his second contest and move to the knockout.

Helen was seeded in u57 kyu following her silver medal last year and despite limited training opportunities after her time in Spain, she fought in her usual determined way to win the pool and make her way into the knockout.

Final player to get on the mat was Callum fighting at u81 kyu in his first BUCS. With a pool of 4 he had 3 contests to take care of in order to secure a place in the knockout. With some very assured fighting he won all 3 contests by ippon with a fine variety of technique (strangle, o uchi gari and tate shiho gatame).

Moving into the knockout phase, Helen decided to stop using the full contest duration and won the first round in just 2 minutes with a hold down. Unfortunately she came up against tougher opposition in the semi final and despite fighting to the bitter end she lost to a yuko hold down. This put her into the bronze medal match but despite another persistent full length contest she was unable to get the better of her opponent who held a waza ari lead to the end leaving Helen in 5th.

Dan was feeling the effects of his knee injury and the challenge fighting at u73 near the bottom end of the weight range, and he was held down for ippon in the first round with his opponent not able to bring him back into the repechage.


Meanwhile, Marc’s last opponent had moved into the final bringing him back into the repechage. A cagey tactical first contest saw Marc edge out his opponent on penalties. The next contest was for a place in the repechage final to fight for bronze; it was another cagey contest but unfortunately ended in a loss to a strong ippon throw. But a 7th place finish is a respectable result in one of the toughest categories of the event.

That left just Callum in action with another large knockout to work through. Making short work of the first round with another ippon throw, in the second round against a Bath player Callum made the mistake of underestimating his opponent and in a momentary loss of focus was thrown for ippon. Fortunately the Bath player then carried on through to the final giving Callum the chance to work through the repechage and fight for Bronze.

Winning the first round with another hold there was just one fight left to secure the bronze medal. A final focussed performance was rewarded with a final ippon throw and a well deserved bronze medal. Having fought 7 contests, 6 had been won by ippon with just one loss.

In a nice piece of symmetry, Ilya from Southampton Solent took the other bronze in the same category.

A very impressive and determined performance from everyone; with lots of lessons learned to apply next year.

Complete breakdown of results is here : http://www.judotechnologies.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/BUCS-National-Championships-2014-Results.pdf

What we’ve been up to

March 17, 2013

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog but we have been busy through the spring term. Here is a quick round up of competition activity

Hampshire Team Competition

The Hampshire Team League resumed in February after the Christmas break and it was nice to see a few more teams starting to make an appearance. In February we took second place behind Winchester Judo Club, while in March we were third behind Winchester and Holbrook.

As we have been supporting the competition from round 1 we have a solid lead overall going into the final round on April 7.

British Universities Championships

BUCS is our main target every year, and to make things interesting it moved a month earlier to the end of February making preparation a challenge with the exam period crammed in between BUCS and Christmas! And to make things more interesting our initial entry of seven players was reduced to 4 at the last minute by a variety of (mostly non judo related) injuries. So with some last minute panic over logistics sorted out, a depleted team left Southampton on Friday towards Sheffield with the weather forecast threatening snow. The journey was uneventful, weigh in was no problem, so after cramming hungry players with food we were all set for an early start on Saturday.

Stand out performances on the day were from Dan in the U66 Kyu grade category and Helen in U52 Kyu grades. Entry was large for most of the men’s categories and in Dan’s case 25 players meant 8 pools and a substantial knock out phase. Dan fought some nicely controlled contests throughout the day, winning his pool and all contests through to the semi final by ippon. Despite strong start in the semi final, a small error cost Dan the contest and he was left with the repechage final as his final contest of the day. Recovering from the loss of the semi final, and coping well with the aches and pains of a days judo, another calm and focussed performance led to a well deserved bronze medal.

After working hard to make the weight for U52, Helen was disappointed to be the only entrant. But that only seemed to fire her up for the combined U52/U57 category. She won both pool contests in short order with ippon throws and then made her way to the final with more attacking judo. Unfortunately the weight difference became apparent in the final and she was overpowered but had a worthy silver medal.


Will and Szymon had less luck in the Dan grade categories which as usual saw a strong entry. Will was unfortunately unable to overcome clearly experienced players in his U66 pool. Szymon had more luck at U81 coming second in his pool and moving into the knockout. Despite many strong attacks he was unable to break through the defences of his scottish opponent in the quarter final and with the scottish player losing at the semi final stage there was no repechage opportunity either.

Despite only have 3 battered players to call on we duly turned out for the team competition on Sunday with the chance of points for Will and Szymon being the main driver. Unfortunately the draw was not on our side with strong opposition from Oxford, Bath and Warwick in our pool meaning an early exit for the motorway.

A good weekend’s effort with 2 good medals to show for it. Lets hope we can avoid injury problems next year!

More BUCS photos here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/southamptonuniversityjudo/sets/72157632850025042/

BUCS 2012

March 22, 2012

We were at BUCS this weekend with a team of 5 – Will, Dan,Giorgio, Josh and Andrew. Once again the cometition was part of the larger BUCS championship in Sheffield and the standard was high in both the Kyu and Dan grade categories.

After the usual trawl up the M1, everyone was weighed in and we had a nice tour of Sheffield in search of our hotel thanks to my brain dead sat-nav. Eventually we found our hotel (new and improved over previous years with no karaoke and good food!). Once checked 5 hungry players proceeded to try and clear out the kitchen before rolling into bed

Saturdays timetable combined with our lightweight team meant that we started with 4 players spread over 3 mats in the u73 categories.


Andrew, Josh and Dan all made it through their respective pools into the knockout stage.

Andrew in particular had a great start to the day winning all his pool contests by ippon. After winning the first round of the knockout with another ippon throw he met eventual winner Patrick Dawson in the second round and was thrown for ippon himself. Final position was a very respectable 7th from the category of 26. The icing on the cake was collecting the remaining points needed for his dan grade.


Josh won his first knockout contest before being eliminated while Dan lost his first contest to a strong player from Anglia Ruskin.

Will was fighting in the u66 category having not quite made weight for the u60s. Unfortunately he drew a pretty strong pool and didn’t make it into the knockout.


After raiding the hotel restaurant again and a good night’s sleep we were back at Don Valley Stadium for the team competition. Another tough draw meant our u73 players were faced with a lot of u90 players and the experienced 3 man team from Heriott Watt that would eventually take a bronze medal, so we didn’t make it out of our pool.

As usual the team competition saw lots of good judo and close matches. In particular the mens final between Oxford and Anglia Ruskin was a nail biting affair that went all the way to the final contest.



While we didn’t return with a pile of medals our new team members now know just what the standard is like and what they need to work on for next year.

More photos on our Flickr stream here : http://www.flickr.com//photos/southamptonuniversityjudo/sets/72157629623017603/show/