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.


No Judo sunday – Dec 2nd

December 1, 2012

Remember, no judo this Sunday as we are taking a team to the Hampshire Team Competition. If you want to come along and support it is 3pm on sunday at St Marys Leisure Centre


Hampshire Team League Round 2

November 4, 2012

Today was the second round of the Hampshire Team League, at Solent University’s sports centre in St Marys. It was nice to see one more team than last time and with most teams fielding a full 5 players the whole event felt like a positive step forward from the first round.

Four teams lined up, ourselves plus Fleming Park, Holbrook and Southampton City/Solent University. The event was fought in a round robin style so every team had 3 contests.

Southampton City and Fleming Park got things started with the win going to Fleming Park, then it was Southampton Uni and Holbrook. Ricardo, Szymon and Josh got things off to a flying start with ippon wins through a nice mix of throws and groundwork. After a debate about matching player sizes, Will got underway and deployed his favoured mix of sacrifice throws and groundwork to win with a submission. Final tally 4-1 to Southampton Uni.


Our next contest was another run of the local derby against the Southampton City/Solent Uni club. This time we seemed to be offering a submission masterclass with 3 contests ended with strangles and again a final score of 4-1 in our favour.

Our final contest was against Fleming Park and at this point we each had 2 wins apiece, making this effectively the final. It was always going to be the toughest match of the day for us and after Szymon put on another nice groundwork display to put us in the lead, Riccardo and Josh got caught out and both lost by ippon. Will was able to level things up with another groundwork win which put us at 2-2 and Charlotte in the hot seat. Her opponent had been looking dangerous with submissions by armlock in all previous contests, but after settling into the contest Charlotte scored 2 yukos and then finished up with a great ippon from Tani-otoshi in the last 30 seconds.


A good day of friendly competition with everyone scoring wins by ippon and we came out on top with 3 wins to Fleming Park’s 2.

Some pictures here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/southamptonuniversityjudo/sets/72157631927864511/

The next round is December 2 – can we field 2 teams next time?

Southampton Uni vs Matsumachi

March 1, 2012

As many of you will know, last Tuesday was the most recent visit from Matsumachi Judo Club for another friendly team contest. This one was timed to provide some contest experience in the run up to BUCS at the end of term.

For this particular visit Matsumachi had a large party of 12 which meant that along with our own players the mat was more crowded than we have seen for some time.

After a warm up we decided to get the  team contest complete first before finishing the session with randori. With a little creativity we laid out a sequence of contests that meant everyone was presented with an opponent of approximately the right size and some players had the bonus of extra contests!


Matsumachi Southampton
Ben Grant X Josh Davies
Jacob Grant X Will Betts
Dan Grant X Dan Spencer
Phil Grant X Josh Davies
Marian X Giorgio Burella
Andrew Lastnka X Vlad Niste
Rad Zdziabek X Nathan Farmer
Jeremy Tucker X Riccardo Castelli
Greg Elderfield X Dan Spencer
Rad Zdziabek Richard Kapend
Bob Simpson X Will Betts

Some nice judo seen from each team, all contests ending with ippon apart from one hard fought draw, and this time the final score was in southampton’s favour with 8 wins to 3.


Some more photos and video on the club flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/southamptonuniversityjudo

Hampshire Closed 2011

March 6, 2011

We only had a small contingent at the Hampshire Closed today but it was a successful outing nonetheless.

Andrew fought in u81kg, having not quite got down to u73kg where he plans to fight at BUCS. Despite giving away plenty of weight to many of the other players in a pool of 5 he put together a great set of well controlled contests, winning his first 3 contests with Ippon from throws and a strangle.

The final contest of the pool was also the decider for 1st and 2nd places – Andrew started well and went ahead with a yuko score but unfortunately his opponent was injured having caught his leg while being thrown. The referees decided that too much medical attention had been needed for the injury and the fight was ended prematurely leaving Andrew the winner by default. Despite a difficult end the gold medal was well deserved after a good day’s judo.

Andrew throwing for Ippon

Nathan had a more mixed day out winning one contest through a disqualification but also having good committed attacks blocked with equally good counters and came away with a bronze medal.

u81kg Medallists, Andrew with Bronze

u90kg Medallists, Nathan with Bronze

Matsumachi Club Visit

February 17, 2011

At last night’s training session, we had a visit from Paul Sawyer and his club Matsumachi. The plan was for some training with new faces followed by a friendly team contest to give everyone a low key opportunity for a more competitive experience. Some players had more contest experience than others but it was a good exercise for everyone.

Warming up with uchi komi

After a warm up and looking at a nice simple but effective piece of groundwork technique courtesy of Paul we ran the contest between 2 teams of 6.

Fighting approximately from lightweight to heavyweight, Matsumachi took an early lead as they won the first fight by ippon, and the second contest finished as a draw with each player scoring yuko and waza-ari.

Herac heading for a hard fought draw

That was the sign for Southampton to start to fight back and we then leveled the match with an ippon hold down before Matsumachi edged back into the lead with the score Southampton 1, Matsumachi 2.

Home team honour was retained as Richard and Matt won the final 2 contests with nice ippon throws.

Richard throwing with seoi nage 2

Paul did a great job refereeing the contest and making everyone work hard to be awarded good scores. Looking forward to the return match when we hope to visit Matsumachi in Christchurch.

More photos on the club Flickr stream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/southamptonuniversityjudo/sets/72157625945159081/

The visit from the camera crew was to capture some footage for the SUSUtv Sports Show so all those present will be famous in a few weeks and there should be a write up in Wessex Scene as well.

London Universities Open 2011

February 13, 2011

Saturday Feb 12th saw us leaving Southampton at the anti social time of 6.30am to get ourselves to Brunel University for this years London Universities Open – a grade banded event open to all university judo clubs.

Rather uncharacteristically the early start meant we arrived to an empty hall with plenty of time for those who had been borderline on weight to confirm they would be fighting in a heavier than usual category!

We were uncharacteristically early!

The competition was grade banded with categories for Novice to 5 Kyu, 4 Kyu to 2 Kyu, and 1 Kyu and above. We had 4 players in the intermediate category (Matt, Morgan, Herac and Lachlan) and 1 in the 1 Kyu category (Richard). It turned into a successful day out with 4 silver medals one in the 4k-2k category at under 60 kg, under 66 kg, under 73 kg and under 90 kg.

Southampton University team

Morgan (u60) and Matt (u90) both had to fight in single pools to take their medals and both achieved this with wins via hold downs. Herac and Lachlan had more work to do with 2 pools followed by a knock out.

Matt holds for ippon

Herac was unlucky to lose his first fight having been in the lead but being caught in a hold in literally the final second of the match. He made up for that with a quick fire win in his second contest to secure a place in the knockout. Another quick win from a seoi-nage through put him in the final. Unfortunately as a natural 66kg player Herac struggled to deal with the strength of his opponent in the final and lost to an ippon hold but took a well deserved silver.

Herac throwing for ippon to get into the final

Lachlan decided to get value for money from the day. He won his first pool contest with a pair of nice waza-ari throws but after struggling with gripping he lost his second contest. Normally this would have been enough to get into the knockout but the pool was tied with an Ippon score for each player and everyone got to fight again. The first refight lasted literally seconds, Lachlan throwing a classic sumi gaeshi for ippon from the initial exhange of grips, then winning his second fight with a strong hold down.

Lachlan with a hold for Ippon

Into the knock out and the semi final saw probably the best throw from our team of the day with a fully committed uchi mata for ippon. Unfortunately the final was one contest too far and having been caught for ippon, it was another Southampton silver.

Lachlan throwing with uchimata for Ippon

Richard was the last player to compete, having spent all day supporting the rest of the team. Richard was fighting above his normal weight at under 81 kg and in a category full of strong players; unfortunately the draw was not in our favour and facing 2 strong fighters in succession meant Richard wasn’t able to challenge for another medal.

Everyone performed really well and it was a great chance to brush off contest cobwebs prior to the BUCS championship in March.

Also great to see on the day were strong performances from the other Hampshire university clubs at Solent and Winchester who we have been holding regular joint sessions with. They each took their own share of medals as well.

Kim from Solent Uni in action Emily from Winchester holding for Ippon

The full selection of my favourite photos from the day are on the club Flickr account at http://www.flickr.com/photos/southamptonuniversityjudo/sets/72157626038406200/