We had 8 excellent fighters on the mat today. Unfortunately Akhil, Rohan and Phoebe were unable to medal on this occasion, but we had rostrum results from the rest.
Harkirat took an excellent bronze in the -32kg section, followed up by Soraya's bronze in the -36s. Then Ken was on fine form in the best gathering of -38kg boys I have ever seen. He lost only his semi, winning the bronze fight with a superb uchi-mata. It was an unusual day for Ken, in that every fight went to Golden Score - now that's what I call hard work, especially in the heat of Summer. Well done for that. Our last bronze came from Rifqa, who fought well in the -48kg. The final result of the day came from Taku who took a good silver.
Well done to the whole gang - they are always a pleasure to take away on trips and this weekend was no exception.
At this excellent event we had a couple of our new red belts join the fighting squad for the first time proper. Little Dominic O'Sullivan only got his red belt in March, but was eager to get started on the competition trail. He lost his first two contests, narrowly, but a victory in the 3rd gave Dominic all the encouragement he needed - we will see how he progresses in the forthcoming Sussex Red Belt Championships!
Also in the red belt section was Conor, who hadn't competed since January, but he was in fine form. He won the under 38kg section in style.
Then Soraya was up in the Yellow and Orange belt group. We were fairly sure that a bronze was within her grasp... from her last 9 events she has taken 9 bronzes, so really it was a no-brainer! However today was to be slightly different, yes, that's right she broke free from her bronze chains and stepped up a gear to take the silver, only losing to an old rival in the final. Well done Soraya, that's quite a jump up our medal table!
In the open under 18 section Ken had it really tough, competing at 42s for the first time in an open event. It's been a long time since Ken came away without a medal and today was indeed that day. Some great judo, but more experience is needed at this weight.
Then, finally, it was Rifqa's turn. She won her quarter final and semi-final with no hassle at all, but the final was a different story. The strong Willesden under 48, Nekoda Davis, threw Rifqa for ippon. This left Rifqa with yet another silver at the hands of Davis.
It was a very enjoyable day - it always is at Halesowen. The whole team performed well.
On this scorching day 6 of our brood travelled to the seaside for another day of judo. The following medals were won:
GOLD Rifqa Samad
BRONZE Ken Kawamoto
BRONZE Taku Kawamoto
Having stated the results, there are a couple of things to mention. First, Rifqa finally managed to defeat her nemesis in the final (a slightly lucky victory, but a welcome one). She also beat one of next year's European hopefuls on the way to the final, so it was a particularly satisfying day for Rifqa.
Also, Ken again fought at the heavier weight and this time was in receipt of greater success. Each fight was extremely tough, but only losing the semi meant that Ken took a well-earned bronze.
Phoebe, Harkirat and Mog each fought well in their respective groups, but without material reward.
Kai, Dominic, Conor and David fought today, and each fought with quite some gusto. Kai was excellent, but unlucky, scoring in his contests before losing out. No medal, but some great judo. A similar story for David, who, as ever, worked extremely hard in his bouts.
Conor made getting to the final look easy, using some huge throws to great effect. His final was a different case though and after only a few seconds Conor was caught and had to settle for the silver. His 6 fights were well worth the journey.
Last up was Dominic, who worked his socks off, to produce his first red belt medal. He had 5 tough fights and won the first 3 by ippon. He won the semi on a waza-ari and then went into a very tough final, against another London boy. First his opponent threw Dominic for 7 points, then Dominic equalised. After a bit more intense wrangling Dominic was caught again and as with Conor had to make do with a silver medal. He was very pleased though and can'r wait for his next event, which will be in Wales next month. Well done all.
This was a really enjoyable day. Once at the Gower club in Wales we took part in a couple of hours of training, learning and practicing some great new grounwork techniques. Then into the afternoon and all the children participated in a low key competition. We had 7 entrants, plus a surprise medal winner, that I will mention again later in this report.
Conor, Eliot B and Harkirat each won every contest they had - formiddable, I must say, bringing home 3 gold medals between them. Then Kai, Dominic and Akhil B each won super silvers. Akhil's only loss was to our very own Conor, so a perfect 1/2 in that group. Then Oliver L won a bronze, which was a fabulous result for this new red belt, who came with us to experience his first trip away with the team.
Our surprise medal came from my little Luke, who in the cutest judo suit ever, showed off his breakfalls and warm up exercises, before throwing the Welsh coach. The home club decided that was easily worth a gold medal!
Kai and Dominic battling it out in Gower.
Little Luke preparing to take part in his first event.
This event was a very welcome addition to our calendar as August had been soooo empty. As in previous years we decided to make a weekend of it, incorporating the bank holiday. We travelled up on the Friday at a relaxed pace and got a good night's sleep before finishing the journey on Saturday morning. We had 4 fighters booked, but then Little Joe turned up (he was already on holiday in the Lake District), taking us to 5.
Unfortunately Megan, Elliott C and Joe were beaten this time, but Rifqa and Lucy put on a pretty good display in their group, winning a gold and a bronze respectively. That is looking good for the Nationals, especially as it was Lucy's first tournament back since breaking her arm in May. It was also her first event in that weight class. Great job Lucy.
At this event Ken, on holiday in Japan, joined a team of boys from the local area. He won all 4 of his contests and overall the team took bronze. Well done Ken. Glad to see you flying the Ealing flag, even when on holiday!
Nine of the EJC troop went along to this enormous event at the NIA in Birmingham. Several of the team just missed out on bronzes, coming 5th, but both Ken and Rifqa calmly took out their respective groups to win a gold apiece. With a little more training from all concerned the Nationals weekend next month could be a great weekend for EJC.
Just Taku travelled out to Belgium and having not competed for almost 2 months he was a little nervous. But the nerves cleared after his first fight, where he won easily with his favourite technique. The following three contests went much the same way and Taku came away with a well-earned gold.
There were some great performances today, not least of which from Ken, Phoebe and Akhil who all just missed out on the medals, coming 5th. Taku won a super bronze in the under 16 60kg group. He looked like he was really enjoying his judo - a must for any long term athlete. Rifqa won a good, solid silver in the 48s and then entered the -20 48s too and managed, although only having 1 contest, to win that and bring home a gold. It was Rifqa's first time fighting at under 20 level and she looked really strong. Well done.
Taku was our only entrant into this well-attended Belgian tournament. He fought very well and came home with the gold. Well done for flying the EJC flag again.
Into double figures today - 10 of our fighting squad travelled up to Bradford to test their wits against their Northern opposition for this year's National Championships. It was an important preparation event as it was designed in the same age bands as the Nationals.
In the 'A' Band Conor was unlucky to have our own Akhil for the bronze. Akhil took the medal on penalties, but both boys fought well throughout the day. Phoebe and Harkirat took a silver and a bronze respectively in their group. It was a particularly positive performance from Phoebe, beating girls she has lost to in the past. Then Ken made the whole audience gasp with a string of devastatingly powerful throws, winning him the under 42kg section.
In the 'B' band Rohan had a bit of an off day. He won his first with an excellent foot sweep, but then went off the boil, losing only on penalties. Megan looked strong at the outset but was unable to continue in that way and came away without a medal, but fought impressively. Rifqa, in the same group, narrowly lost her semi and had to settle for bronze. Lucy, fighting only her second event at this weight and in this age band came away with a bronze too - a gutsy performance from her.
Last up was Taku, in the 'C' band.He looked like he was really enjoying his judo today, using an elaborate mix of standing and grounwork techniques to despatch all opponents. This gave him a gold - the second of the day for the wonderful Kawamoto boys.
The Nationals was not quite as successful as we had hoped for this year. However, there were some excellent performances. Rifqa took bronze in B under 48. This put her safely into the EJC hall of fame, being our first ever student to earn themselves four National medals. This also means Rifqa is back on the Cadet Squad. A great achievement for her.
Joe, Taku and Lucy fought really hard and although they didn't medal, they did give it everything on the day. Rohan also had a tough day, but as it was his first Nationals it was a worthwhile experience, lighting the path for future attempts.
Megan ended her day in 5th place, for the third year running! She is nothing if not consistent. We know she was disappointed, but she should remember that she is always among the top girls in her category, representing her club and Area well.
Last, but by no means least, is the fantastic Soraya. I hope she won't mind us saying that last year, in the A Band, she didn't do so well. This year, having moved up two weight groups and an age band, she exceeded all expectations. She narrowly lost her first contest, on the bell, but went on to win her next two. She really had to battle for her wins, showing great strength of character. Then in the bronze fight Soraya went down a score early on and just could not claw her way back, no matter how hard she tried... and she tried so hard! But 5th was more than credible - an outstanding performance.
On Saturday just 3 of our orange belts travelled out to deepest, darkest Essex for this well attended Mini-Mon. Conor fought well in the under 38kg group - a promising performance. Then Harkirat and Phoebe took on the light weight girls, with Phoebe taking a good silver and Harkirat a bronze. Well done all.
Then on Sunday, for the open under 16, just phoebe made the journey again, and this time she secured a bronze. Two medals and two good experiences for her in one weekend. Good job!
This was a lovely day for the EJC team. It's always pleasing when every member of the group achieves a podium result and this was one of those occasions.
Harkirat, Ken and Taku each took silvers. On his way to that medal Ken upended Price from Pinewood with the most beautiful tai-o-toshi anyone present had seen in some years. It was all the referees could do to stop themselves from clapping! It was also a great final, with Ken losing by only a small score to Moberly's Kyle Clarke-Harewood.
Then we had bronzes from Soraya, Rifqa and Rohan. Another excellent performance this day came from Rohan. His only loss was to Pinewood's Franklin, recently returned from this year's European Cadet Championships - 3 year's Rohan's senior and vastly more experienced. This loss was only a koka towards the end of the bout.
This was Akhil' first crack at a National level event and although he didn't pull off a medal, he fought very well and I look forward to him creeping up the rankings in years to come.
Phoebe was very unlucky to finish in 5th place after such a narrow loss in her semi-final. She fought with real heart.Ken surprised no-one by winning the 42s with ease. He was baffled however that there were only two other boys in the weight, despite there being greater numbers in both the weights above and below. That was Ken's 2nd gold on the trot and pays testament to his hard work throughout the year.
Then on to the two dreams come true. Conor has only been with us for a relatively short time, but he attended almost every lesson leading up to the Nationals and he worked so hard in those classes... he deserved a pay off, and got one. The u38kg boys' group was big, but nothing was going to phase Conor. He beat his first two opponents by ippon to see him into the semi. Another excellent fighter from London dealt with Conor there, though, leaving him having to battle for a bronze. Conor would not be detered from his goal of a medal and came out for the bronze medal contest like a boy possessed. He threw the boy for ippon and with a beaming grin claimed the bronze he had been so hungry for. It was an outstanding performance from this newcomer to judo.
Harkirat then performaed the impossible and took out 3 girls she had never beaten before, all on the same day. In her pool she beat 2 girls, including Pinewood's Harper, but lost her 3rd, to a great fighter from Hull - only on a small score. This put her into a semi-final aginst Pinewood's excellent Emma Pang. Harkirat threw her for a waza-ari and then held her lead to the bell. Her final was against the girl from Hull, Hartley, whom she had already lost to in the pool, but Harkirat didn't let that phase her and steamrollered into the fight. After a little wrestling for grips Harkirat attacked with a burst of power, knocking Hartley to her back for Ippon. None of us could quite believe it, but our little Harkirat was now national champion!
What a fantastic day!
No medals for Kai and Jack B today, despite gutsy contests. But, Phoebe had a good run in the 32s and took a silver. Dominic had a tough day, but following only one loss, in golden score, he proved himself to be a tough competitor and fought his way to a very well earned bronze.
Only Yugo went along to High Wycombe this day. It was his very first outing as a red belt and he was pretty pleased with his performance, winning 3 fights and losing 1, to take silver. Well done Yugo.
Yugo, now a fully fledged member of our fighting squad, fought well to take a silver in his group. Another of our new members, Tom, also fought well, winning his first contest and enough points for a bronze.
Dominic had a somewhat harder day than at his last outing, but still came through to win a bronze. Maja was on top form. She worked really hard in each fight and convincingly placed herself in the final. Unfortunately, although it looked like she would win the final an unstoppable and unexpected nosebleed meant she was unable to continue and so she had to settle for silver.
Then there was Kai. He had a blinder of a day, winning 3 out 3 contests in his pool to see him safely into the semi. Sadly he lost the semi but this left him with a bronze medal - Kai's first trophy at an open mini-mon, so a great achievement for him.
I should also mention that 2 of our Junior Referees made the trip to work at their first tournament. Soraya and Rifqa did a great job, despite their nerves.
Tom, Kai, Maja and Yugo with their medals and two rather friendly officials - Terry & Vic.
Our referees, Rifqa & Soraya, sitting with medal-winner Dominic.
This was one of the strangest trips we have ever done. We were really unlucky on our way out to Belgium - we caught allt he traffic and got stopped by French customs for a spot search at Dover. In the end we caught a train crossing two hours after our original ticket stated. However we managed not to get lost when trying to find the hotel and my credit card wasn't laughed at so we did have a bed for the night.
In the morning we all got ourselves moving and left the hotel on time. We arrived at the venue without incident, only to find it deserted... only a cleaner with her mop and bucket could be found. One of our French speaking parents assertained that the individual event we were supposed to be competing at had been cancelled!
This was a first! The Sports Centre manager came along and helped us to phone the competition organiser, who said that he was terribly sorry, but we could go to his club about twenty minutes drive away and enter the team tournament they were running instead. We decided to risk it, knowing nothing about the make up of the teams for the day.
Once at Budo Brussels Club we realised that this team event was perfect for the fighters we had with us and duely arranged them into teams. Of course we had a couple of places unfilled but we did the best we could. Soraya ended up in two teams and had a wicked day, only losing one out of her ten bouts. It was so exciting.
In the younger of the two teams we earned a silver and the older group took bronze. All in all it was a day of judo I felt priveleged to be part of. This children had a great day, full of team spirit, drama, learning and fun.
So well done to the following:
It was a bit of a shock to arrive at this event and find it was as high a level as it was. We were expecting something quite gentle for some of our less experienced members. However our three fighters put on a brave face and worked hard. Kai fought very well, but no medal this time and the story was similar for Jack B, although both performed very well.
Eliot B was a very pleasant surprise though, as he battled aggressively and confidently to take gold in his category.
Well done to all three EJC troopers. It was a good learning experience for all.
Baby Peter telling referee Ronnie all he knows about contest rules...
Harkirat and Maja both had a good stab at it but unfortunately did not medal. Ken had a good day and won gold, despite a very tough final against the Enfield boy. Akhil had a fantastic day, winning his pool and then semi final. He couldn't quite sustain it in the final, but silver was an outstanding result.
Phoebe was on fantastic form, beating the National bronze medalist in the final, to take her first gold for quite some months. She was well chuffed, as you can imagine.
This was a fun event for the under 6s. Marko made the short trip to Willesden and had two excellent contests. He won both and came home with a stunning trophy for gold.
Also, my own little one, Luke took part and as the youngest competitor put on an entertaining show. He won a silver for his efforts. Well done to both fighters.
24 of our beginners came along to their home event, plus a couple of visitors. It was a lovely event with two of our home-grown referees helping out - thanks to Soraya and Lucy.
Results were as follows:
GOLD Sam Butcher
GOLD Ibrahim Abdelaal
GOLD Matthew Butcher
GOLD Antoine Orieux
GOLD Ali Abdelaal
GOLD Jack Beevers
GOLD Mateo Ibanez
SILVER Showgo Kimura
SILVER Matthieu Duarte
SILVER Anna O'Sullivan
SILVER Pierre Maillefaud
SILVER Kai Butcher
SILVER Dominic O'Sullivan
SILVER Paul Duarte
SILVER Kristina Nowakovic
BRONZE Kamran Hatami
BRONZE Lucas Orieux
BRONZE Teslyn Johnson
BRONZE Amir Asgari
BRONZE Andrew Aresti
BRONZE Maxime Cacaly
BRONZE Jack Mouradian
BRONZE Georgina White
BRONZE Jamie Gould
Kristina also won a trophy for 'Best Girl Fighter of the Day' and Jack B won the 'Best Boy' award. Showgo also won a trophy for 'Throw of the Tournament'.
Congratulations to all of our wonderful up and coming beginners. They are a real prospect for future success.
Georgina was excellent and as our only girl fighter of the day won some really tough fights to take gold. The brothers, Ali and Ibrahim Abdelaal each won gold too, with some lovely judo. One of our newcomers, Paul, won a silver and bronzes were collected by Amir, Antoine, Maxime and Mateo. Well done to all.
Our team of baby Luke Davies, Showgo Kimura, Anna O'Sullivan, Amir Asgari, Ibrahim Abdelaal, Ali Abdelaal and Dominic O'Sullivan fought extremely well, especially considering that many of them have only been doing judo for just a few weeks. They came away with bronze and I look forward to them performing together again in the future, with a bit more experience under their coloured belts.
GOLD Conor Corrigan
GOLD Tom Wilson
GOLD Harkirat Sekhon
GOLD Phoebe Harris
SILVER Maja Kovac
BRONZE Eliot Bradford
A special well done to Conor who had 5 really hard battles on the way to his gold - an impressive performance.
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