Bronze for the Youngest Player
The British Schools Judo Championships took place at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield this month and four players, their families and coaches travelled from Carmarthen Judo Club in order to take part.
These Championships are the culmination of competitions over the last twelve months for these young people. The pupils needed to complete a qualifying competition or wait for an open entry in order to participate. Three of the players; Louise Hughes, Elen Davies and Celt Llewelyn-Jones had all qualified through winning the Welsh Competition in September last year. The fourth member of the club, Aled Beynon, had to go through the open entry system.
The first two club members competed on day one of the championships. Aled Beynon in Year 9 of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Myrddin competed in the under 50kg category for his age group. He had prepared well for the competition despite being nervous he approached each contest separately and used his various skills to perform well. He moved around the mat area confidently, trying various techniques and narrowly missing out on scores to win the contests. He had strong performances against experienced opponents that he had met in previous competitions. Aled almost managed to take his contests to the full 3 minutes, but was unfortunately denied the wins and was not able to move onto the next stage of the competition.
Also in the Year 8/9 category was Louise Hughes of Queen Elizabeth High School, Carmarthen. She entered the under 57kg category. Louise was confident in her approach to the competition and looking to improve on her 2015 performance in these Championships. She started out well by winning her first contest with an ippon score by holding her opponent strongly on the floor. She was moving around the mat area well and attempting numerous techniques, clocking up some good scores in her second contest. Unfortunately she got caught on the edge of the mat for a small score, which her opponent managed to take advantage of and hold her for the win. Louise’s third contest started out with the same confidence, but unfortunately she got caught on the floor to be held for the full ippon score. Both Louise and Aled performed well on the opening day of the competition and learned a lot from the experience, which they aim to take forward into their next competition.
Day two of the competition saw Celt Llewelyn-Jones and Elen Davies competing in the Year 6/7 category. It was the pairs first experience of the British Schools competition and they took their time to absorb the experience. Celt representing Maes-Y-Gwendraeth and was competing in the under 55kg weight category. He approached his first contest carefully and attempted a variety of his favourite techniques, trying to get the first score on the board. Half way through the contest he got caught on the ground and couldn’t escape in the allotted 20 seconds. Celt was determined to improve on his next contest, one which if he won, would give him the opportunity to fight for the bronze medal. Unfortunately, he got caught by his opponent for the full ippon score. He performed well in his attempt at this prestigious competition.
The final competitor was Elen Davies of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Myrddin in over 63kg weight category. She was eager to get started and determined to earn herself a medal. She began her first contest with confidence and dominated her much heavier opponent. She moved around the mat area attempting numerous techniques and adding a few small scores to the board. She eventually caught her opponent with a beautiful sweeping hip throw to score the maximum ten points. She approached her second contest with increased confidence after her first win. Again she took control from the outside and attempted to throw her opponent. Unfortunately as they both fell to the floor, Elen knocked her shoulder, which gave her opponent an advantage to turn Elen over and hold her for an ippon score. Elen was injured in the contest and was unable to take part in her third and final contest. Whilst being assessed in First Aid, Elen heard that she had won the British Schools Bronze medal in her weight category. A happy surprise for her and well deserved after her first few contests.
Each competitor performed very well in a tough competition and they were supported by their friends and family for the whole weekend. Each has gained valuable experience from the event that they will take in to future contests. They showed that local schools have the talent within their ranks to produce excellent fighters in this Olympic sport.
Triple Gold Success for Club
EGH Judokwai (judo club) in Beddau hosted their annual competition on Saturday 27th February. The competition attracts competitors from all over Wales, including clubs from nearby Bristol. Nine players from Carmarthen Judo Club travelled to the competition with parents and coaches Alex Hughes and Louise Beard, in support. Once the players had weighed in and completed a short warmup, the event began with a Dragon display (under 8 years old). Two players from the Club, Erin Powell and Rhidian John, both 7 years old took part. Erin was in a group of four players. She fought with spirit and willpower to win one of her three contests. She demonstrated a number of techniques and her strength to withstand the attacks of her opponents. This was Erin’s second experience of competitions and she is eager to participate in more. Rhidian was stepping onto the contest mat for the first time but he showed no signs of being nervous and was eager to get started. He was in a group of five players and fought with strength, grit and showed great skill. He won three of his contests with the full ippon score, both by throwing his opponent and holding them in osaekomi (holding the opponent down on the mat for a predetermined time). These two young players demonstrated the right kind of attitude and enthusiasm for the sport. They represented the club proudly.
The mini mon competition started with Connor Flattery in the under 42kg weight group, under 12 age band category and Dominic Flynn in the under 38kg weight group, under 12 age band category. Both boys found themselves in groups of five, with four fights apiece. Connor was fighting in a new weight group, therefore expected difficult contests. He successfully executed a number of sweeping techniques to score waza-ari, throughout his fights, unfortunately being unable to convert them into ippon scores. He won his final contest by demonstrating good judo skills and his opponent being awarded a penalty for lack of effort. He finished 5th in the group due to points difference, but is determined to take away the positive points of the day for his next contests. Dominic was competing in his first competition and was not daunted by the task. He attempted a number of techniques throughout his four fights and successfully won one by holding his opponent on the ground. He was awarded a Bronze medal and was delighted with the result.
Next up were the girls. Amy Hughes in the over 44kg weight group, under 12 age band category and Elen Davies in the over 57kg weight group, under 16 age band category. The girls were in pools of four players and had three tough contests. Amy was competing in a mixed group of girls, with some Welsh squad members amongst them. She was focused on each contest and performed superbly, winning two of three contests. She narrowly lost the final and was awarded a Silver medal for her efforts. Elen had to move into the older age band due to low numbers and had tough contests against older girls, but saw it as an opportunity to practice for the up and coming British Schools Championships in April. Following Amy’s example Elen fought with determination to win her first contest with the full ippon score within 10 seconds. The second fight was much tougher and she got caught, but despite this was awarded the Gold medal for her group.
The final pair of junior players from the Club were Aled John and Jordan Kirkwood. Aled was competing for the second time and had moved up into the next weight group, the under 55kg category. He was placed in a group of three and had two tough fights against higher graded and more experienced players. Although nervous he performed extremely well in both contests, winning the first by holding his opponent for an ippon score. He earned a Silver medal. Jordan was competing in the under 66kg weight category and was also placed in a group of three players. Jordan is becoming an experienced player and his performance gets stronger each time he competes. He dominated his opponents to throw both with ippon scores and take the Gold medal.
The final competitor of the day was Gethin Thomas in the senior men, under 73kg weight category. He was competing for only the second time and had the daunting task of competing in the senior category, having turned 16 only a couple of months ago. He was nervous about the prospect, but planned his contests with intelligence and skill. He threw his first opponent for ippon within 10 seconds and managed to hold his second, much stronger opponent, for ippon in his next contest. A Gold medal was awarded for his successes.
Each player performed exceptionally well on the day, taking home some high achievements and some tips for the future.
The following day Louise Hughes competed at the prestigious North West Age Banded Competition in Blackburn, Lancashire. The Level 3 competition attracts players from all over Britain, with many British champions amongst them. Louise was competing for the first time in 2016, after suffering an injury towards the end of last year. She was determined to perform well and help her training for the British Schools Championships next month. She was fighting in a new weight group, the under 57kg category and was placed in a tough group of five players. After a long days wait she stepped onto the mat each time with confidence. She was able to attempt a number of techniques, but was unfortunately unable to score in order to win the contests. She earned the 5th Place, learnt some new skills and is determined to get fully prepared for next competition.
The coaches of the club are proud of each player for their performances, support of each other and strength of character. They look forward to supporting them in their next contests and any future judoka who wants a go at competitions outside the club. Well done all!
Aled travelled to Weston-Super-Mare in the hopes of achieving a qualifying place for the British Schools Championships in April. He was fully prepared and ready to fight for his place. Having moved up a weight group since his last competition he made his weight comfortably. He was up against two strong players from the local area. His first contest saw home getting caught on the ground with a strong san-gaku-osaekomi, a very difficult hold from which 25 seconds is not much time to escape. Aled was confident in his approach to his second contest, he knew what the player was looking for and used his skill to control the player. He attempted a strong seoi-nage techniques almost taking the first score, both players attempted numerous techniques but unfortunately no score was gained. The contest went down to penalties which both players had received for insufficient or stepping out of the area. Unfortunately, Aled lost out due to the penalty. He was awarded third place and will attempt to enter the British Schools Championships through the Open entry in February.