We gave 2014 a bit of a kick start by heading out to Belgium at the earliest opportunity. On Saturday our Seniors went to work with Emily winning gold beating 3 tough German opponents, Blixa winning bronze and Sammie placing 5th. In the Senior ne-waza evening event we had Sammie and Emily competing, alongside Moli (visiting with us from Stratford Judokwai). Moli won silver in the Masters section, Sammie took silver in the Senior group and Emily won a bronze medal.
On Sunday we had just Paige Bartlett and Luke Davies competing. Paige had 3 challenging contests and won a silver medal. Luke won all 3 of his matches by ippon to win gold.
Above: Emily Harper with her gold medal and 1st prize of a Judo suit.
In Kendal the Mighties put in some good performances and came away with a handful of medals and some valuable ranking points with which to open their bidding for the year. There were gold medals for Luke Balfre, Julia Scardone, Harkirat Sekhon and Sammie Grant, with a bronze being won by Emily Harper. Kyra Robinson had to withdraw unwell, but will be ready for the next one.
Above: Julia waiting to fight.
In the Junior (u21) age band Blixa was on good form but missed out on a placing. Luke took a 5th place and Emily won bronze. Harkirat fought excellently winning all contests with a great mix of tachi-waza and ne-waza to win gold.
The Senior age band brought some different challenges but the team set to work as always. Emily was disappointed not to medal, as was Luke. Charlotte placed 5th, while Sammie extended her domestic ranking points by winning a silver medal. Harkirat continued to shine and won again in the seniors, to earn her second gold of the weekend.
Our 3 competitiors, above, all fought excellently today, with Pierre winning bronze, Kyra taking a silver and Cameron winning gold. They were a great, little team and were further rewarded when Kyra also picked up her first ppoints toward her Dan grade. Well done to all.
Kyle Fernandez and Dan Vary fought in this event at UEL and both gave a good account of themselves. Dan Vary won his contests comfortable, to give him a well deserved gold medal, while Kyle, an underdog in his group, fought very well indeed to pull off a bronze medal. Well done to both boys.
We had a very good outing to Worthing, with all our Mighties fighting well and showing some great Judo.
Above L-R: Cameron, Ammi, Megan, Hollie & Ashton
GOLD Megan Walmsley
GOLD Luke Davies
GOLD Ammi Takahashi
BRONZE Rhys Connor
Dominic Grigaliunas and Ashton Harvey both fought well but didn't take a medal this time.
GOLD Ammi Takahashi
GOLD Cameron Harvey
SILVER Sofija Bojat
BRONZE Hollie Walmsley
Little Luke and Peter Davies competed in Germany today, with 41 and 31 boys in their respective groups to contend with. Luke won 2 and lost 1 contest, while Peter won 2 and lost 2. Both boys gave a good account of themselves but did not win medals. This was a very tough event and one I am sure we will attend again in the future.
In the Midlands, with coach Nekoda at the helm, Ammi Takahashi won gold, while Rhys Connor won silver and Luke Balfre won bronze. Sofija Bojat just missed out on the medals.
The girls had a tough weekend in Arlon, as always. Harkirat & Emily fought on Junior day and were joined by Sammie on Senior day. All 3 fought well and prepared well, but no results to report this year.
Nekoda was selected to represent GBR at this wonderfully exciting event. The Bercy Stadium had its trademark capacity crowd, including several EJC members, ready for the start of competition. Nekoda was on within the first hour, up against Cadet, Junior and u23 European Champion Juul Franssen of the Netherlands. Nekoda was thrown on the edge of the area and held in this contest. Despite her early exit from the event, it was a hugely positive experience. Le Tournoi de Paris is always special and Nekoda will be more ready than ever to compete in this huge stage again next year.
GOLD Luke Balfre (Junior u21)
GOLD Harkirat Sekhon (Senior)
GOLD Emily Harper (Senior)
SILVER Sofija Bojat (Pre-Cadet)
SILVER Kyra Robinson (Junior u21)
BRONZE Hollie Walmsley (Pre-Cadet)
BRONZE James Preston-Howes (Cadet)
BRONZE Cameron Harvey (Cadet)
BRONZE Kyra Robinson (Cadet)
Well done to John Hough who fought well but without a podium finish.
Nekoda Davis fought excellently at this global ranking event and placed 7th, picking up valuable World Ranking points along the way. Nekoda won two contests and lost two.
There were some excellent performances this weekend from the Mighties. Sofija looked really confident and strong, winning the Pre-Cadet u40kg section. Kyra won gold too, in the Cadet age band though. There were silvers for Emily and James in the Junior (u21) age band on the Sunday, while Luke B missed out. Cameron and James missed out in the Cadet group but Hollie placed 5th after bringing some ne-waza ninjaness to St Helens!
Nekoda competed in Dusseldorf against some of the world's best international fighters. She won her first contest, throwing Blot of France for ippon in golden score, after a tense 4 minutes. She then faced the Wrld number 1, Miryam Roper of Germany. This was a really even battle, far closer than Roper expected. Nekoda went ahead by a shido in the first minute but was caught for ippon with a sacrifice technique half way through the given time. It was a great battle and despite it being Nekoda's exit from the competition, it was still a great experience.
Jason Tran (competing for Loughborough) fought well, despite being out of competition for some time beforehand. No medal, but a good day all the same. Julia Scardone (competing for UEL) fought excellently, looking strong and determined throughout. In the final a refereeing anomally meant a silver medal was her reward for the day, despite a gold medal winning work rate. Well done to both.
Yuriy made his competitive debut today and fought very well, claiming a bronze medal in the u90kg section. Pierre then won all 3 of his contests by ippon, including a turbo-strangle, to take gold in the u66kg group.Remi, Giovanny and Luke also won all contests, to add 3 more gold medals to the haul, while Sammie finished with a credible silver. Well done to the whole team.
Above: Pierre, Yuriy and Remi with their medals.
We had a great day at this event, with 7 of our Tiny Mighties stepping up to fight. Our young girls took 2 bronzes from Francesca and Emma and a silver from little Maddie, while all 4 of our boys won gold medals. Luke Davies, Alessio, Karl-Kareem and Marko all won all of their contests to seal the top spot in their respective groups.
Above: Luke and Alessio with their gold medals and happy faces.
Just 2 of our lads competing this time. James won 2 contests and lost two, to finish outside of the medals, but getting some great experience on a big stage. Dan Vary won a silver medal, representing his club and college.
It was a mixed day for the Mighties in Sheffield today. We had 3 Juniors who doubled up and fought Seniors aswell. Emily, Luke and HArkirat each won bronze in the Junior age band, with Harkirat taking a repeat medal in the seniors and Emily winning a silver in the olkder category. Luke fought very well in the well attended Senior section and despite some good wins, was stopped from making it to the podium this time. Dan Vary also fought in the Junior group, but didn't medal this time.
In the Senior age band Julia won a bronze medal with some of her best Judo to date. Givanny placed 7th at u66kg, while Sammie and Scott found it tough to get into their stride, unable to make it to the rostrum.
Above: some of the Tiny Mighties get a pre-comp briefing from coach Jo.
We had an excellent day in Crawley, with almost all of the gang taking medals in their respective categories. Our red and yellow belts worked really hard to get the most out of the day, with Poppy and Marko winning silver medals, while Luke D, Ashton & Karl-Kareem all won bronzes. Some fantastic technical work from Dominic saw him close in on the medals, just narrowly missing out in the end, settling for a hard-fought 5th place.
In the orange and green belt groups all of the EJC fighters made it into their respective finals. Megan and Hollie made it a double silver for the Walmsley household, while Rhys, Sofija and Cameron each claimed the number one spot in their groups.
Above: Rhys winning a contest on his way to gold.
Our weekend in Belfast was littered with success and team spirit, a really positive EJC trip.
On day 1 our Juniors (u21) kicked off the event, with Cadets Kyra and James fighting up for experience. Kyra didn't medal but learned lots in preparation for Cadet day on the Sunday. James placed 5th; a very pleasing result indeed. Luke Balfre also placed 5th, having to withdraw from the bronze medal match through injury. Daniel Woodhouse was on good form, taking a bronze at u81kg, while Harkirat won gold, with some excellent ne-waza.
Our Seniors were up next. Harkirat, doing the double, had a tougher time here and didn't make it to the rostrum. SAmmie won a bronze, however, and Julia fought superbly, winning a silver medal and another bucket of domestic ranking points.
Above: the girls off for dinner after day 1 of the competition.
On Day 2, the Sunday, our younger Mighties were on the mat, with a tiniest competitors up first in the Minors age band. Young Luke Davies fought very well indeed, only losing to the eventual gold medalist. Luke came through the repecharge with a great deal of tactical awareness for such a young fighter, to win the bronze medal. Megan, however, was a real force to be reckoned with, winning each of her 3 contests by ippon in tachi-waza, to take a convincing gold.
Our Pre-Cadets were close to faultless, with them winning 6 contests between them, all by ippon, to bring home 2 rock solid golds. Our Cadets, too, had a good day. James and Kyra were well prepared, having fought yesterday, and each upped their game, with James coming through the knockout well and taking a silver after a tough final and Kyra winning bronze in her weight category.
Above: Most of the group get together for a team shot.
It was a pleaseure to work with this group for the weekend, seeing them all make such a positive effort. They had a great work ethic! Well done to all!
The incredibly tough IJF circuit is well under way for 2014 and Nekoda is on the world ranking points trail. In Turkey she won her first contest, beating Tariket of Algeria, twice Continental champion. She then lost out to a Swiss opponent in the nextround, seeing Nekoda exit the competition. More ranking points were earned, however and Nekoda is now up to #47 in the worold and climbing.
Julia and coach Jo made the tricky trip to Sarajevo, via Munich, for the first Senior European Cup of 2014. Julia was well prepared and fought well in the first round, against a very strong Belgian opponent, who had just moved down into the weight group. Julia lost the contest on 2 shidos to 1. This ended Julia's day, but it was evident that lots of progress has been made; well worth the journey.
We had a full and successful day at the University of East London, with everyone fighting well and taking medals. The junior section kicked off the day and young James and Showgo, both still Cadets, were up early in the day. James won his first two contests convincingly by ippon, to earn a place in the semi final, where he was defeated. He won an excellent bronze for his efforts. Showgo, too, had a great couple of wins, losing only the final, to an athlete 3 years his senior. A silver was his reward. Harkirat joined these boys in the age band and won all her contests by ippon, to take an expected gold medal.
Our Seniors also had a good day, with Harkirat taking a 2nd gold of the day, a result echoed by Julia, who won all 3 of her contests to be crowned champion in her weight category too. Sammie and Giovanny had a few good rumbles between them, with each coming away with a bronze medal. Giovanny then fought in the Masters age band too and won a second bronze medal.
Three gold, one silver and four bronze medals was the final tally and a very pleasing one at that. Well done to the whole team.
Above: Our fighters, ready to rumble.
This was a tough event with competitors in attendance from Norway, Germany, Portugal and many others. Young Hollie made a good start to her day, winning her fist contest by ippon. This put her into the semi, where she lost in ne-waza to a strong German. Her bronze medal contest was very fast and did not yield the result Hollie had hoped for, so a 5th place was her result. James, Kyra and Showgo all fought in both the Cadet and Junior age bands, each tucking valuable experience under their belts. James did not medal in either gae band but had the chance to battle it out with a number of international athletes. Kyra won silveer in the Cadet age band, with some very big throws and then won a bronze in the u21 category. Showgo had a day of epic proprtions, despite losing both contests in the u21 section. He had 6 contests in the Cadet group and winning 5 out of 6, all by ippon, gave him a superb bronze medal. Along the way Showgo beat opponents from Germany and Norway, giving him even more confidence for the future.
Jess (visiting from Hillingdon JC) fought some of her best Judo to date, to win a fantastic bronze in the Junior age band. Harkirat, also fighting at u21 level, won all of her contests to take her 3rd gold in as many events.
My pick of the day was young Tohgo, in the Pre-Cadet age band. He put in a gutsy, technical, robust performance to win his bronze medal, with one of the contests being 14 minutes long! I am proud of all of our Mighties this weekend, especially as they carried their positivity throughout the 3 day day training camp that followed the competition.
Above: Team dinner
Below: EJC takes their Easter to Edinburgh, with a 'secret Easter' egg-giving!
There were excellent gold medals today for Luke Davies and Emma Martinelli, with team-mates, Alessio Martinelli and Marko Kovac each winning silver. Four fighters and 4 finals can't be bad. Well done to our tiny Mighties.
Above back: Marko and Emma
Above front: Luke and Alessio
Nekoda and Julia fought in the u57kg category at this well attended European Cup. Julia had a tough draw, pulling the French athlete first. It was a good performance that Julia put in but not enough for the win. She was pulled back into the repecharge where she battled it out against an experienced German. This ended Julia's day but the experience was still a good one.
Nekoda, however, had an excellent day winning all of her contests by ippon to take the gold medal and regain her spot as the number 1 ranked player in Europe.
Above: Nekoda putting in a big throw at K2, on her way to gold.
Harkirat and Luke had a positive outing in Kaunas, with Harkirat placing 7th at the end of the day. All contests were against Russian opponents, a valuable experience for any British fighters. Luke beat a Lithuanian in his first contest, which was his first match at this level. Hethen lost in the 2nd round to a Belarussian and there exited, but it was a great first attempt at this level of international event.
Ealing JC came home with 4 golds, 2 silvers and 2 bronze medals today, from an excellent group of youngsters. Oliver and Evan just missed out on medals, but fought and prepared well.
Gold medals went to Luke D, Megan, Hollie and Tohgo, while Rhys and Marko took the silvers and Maddie and Samuel won bronzes. Luke and Hollie's efforts with their new uchi-matas were very impressive and all gave a good account of themselves in ne-waza too. Well done to the whole team.
L-R: Oliver, Marko, Rhys, Luke & SAmuel at High Wycombe today.
Harkirat travelled with the England team this weekend. She faced a Spanish girl first and then an Italian, but gained no result this time.
Moli was our lone ranger this weekend, fighting in the u63kg category. Moli had tough contests and came away with a silver medal and points towards her black belt as her reward. Congratulations Moli!
This was the first Olympic qualifier of the Rio 2016 cycle and was bound to be tough, but with a bronze medal won here last year Nekoda was confident that her preparation and experience would see her back on the rostrum this year.
Nekoda beat a Finnish oponent in round 1, a Chinese athlete in round 2 and then Caprioriu, Olympic silver medalist from Romania in the quarter final. This took Nekoda into the same semi-final as last year, against Receveaux of France, the former Junior World Champion. Here, Nekoda was beaten narrowly and in another repeat of last year, remarkably, she faced Scotland's Connie Ramsay. Nekoda won this contest to repeat last year's bronze medal and start her Olympic qualification campaign.
Congratulations from all at the club!
Above: Nekoda on the rostrum in Madrid
Above L-R: Sammie, Julia, Giovanny, Charlotte & Harkirat at the end of a successful day of competition at K2 Leisure Centre
GOLD Harkirat Sekhon
GOLD Charlotte Potter
SILVER Pierre Powell
BRONZE Julia Scardone
BRONZE Sammie Grant
BRONZE Giovanny Antalika
Luke Balfre also fought but withdrew before the medal stages.
Our Tiny Mighties were in fine form today, dips playing great heart and some lovely throws. The results:
GOLD Luke Davies
GOLD Peter Davies
SILVER Poppy Love
SILVER Alessio Martinelli
SILVER Tyler Offiah
BRONZE Ellis Davies
Venray is like a yearly pilgrimage to one of the toughest junior competitions in the calendar. Our team put in some serious effort as always. Hollie, Peter and Tohgo couldnt reach the podium, despite a beautiful ippon throw in Hollie's second contest. Charlotte and Sammie each placed 5th on te Senior day, while Luke Davies had a great day, taking a silver medal. This was his first Venray medal, having placed 5th last year.
Coach Jo travelled with Nekoda to this prestigious and well attended world ranking event. Nekoda beat her first opponent, Hevondian of the Ukraine, on 4 shidos, before losing by waza-ari to Helene Receveaux of France. This put Ekoda out of the tournament.
Evan, Oliver, Patrick and Kyle all represented the Borough of Ealing but without medals to show for hybrid hard work. Also competing for Ealing Dan Vary won bronze, and Eliot as Phoebe each won gold.
Jess was competing for Hillingdon and she won a solid silver medal, while Hollie and Megan represented Brent and won a gold and a silver respectively.
Coaches Sammie and Charlotte did a great job looking after the team and much fun was had by all.
SILVER James Preston-Howes
Luke Davies, Dominic Griggs, Marko Kovac, Tohgo Kimura, Rhys Connor and James Preston-Howes all fought well and with plenty of throws and wins between them. However all missed out on rostrum places. Medals went to:
GOLD Cameron Harvey
SILVER Sammie Grant
BRONZE Lara Hernandez-Byrne
BRONZE Hollie Walmsley
BRONZE Showgo Kimura
BRONZE Jess Gordon-Brown
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