Three of our talented mob fought today. This was Ali's first experience as a red belt, away from the club. He put in an excellent performance, narrowly missing out on the medals. Ken then won the under 12 section. He made it look easy. Wanting more of a challenge he then entered the under 16 section and took a bronze in there as well.
Last up was Taku who was controlled and calm throughout his four fights. He won each by ippon and brought home a gold to add to his ever-growing collection.
Jack B, David S, Yugo and Tom all fought well at this event. Jack, David & Tom each wona bronze and Yugo managed to earn a place in the final, and eventually a silver medal. Well done to all 4 boys.
In the under 12 section Akhil had 4 tough contests, all of which he won, taking the gold. Then the under 16s got started. Lucy went up a weight group by the smallest of amounts. She was quite nervous, but began her fighting day well. No medal this time, however. Ken & Harkirat won golds in their respective groups. In fact having weighed only 200 grams over the 32kg group Harkirat had to fight in -36s, but this was combined with the -40s. Harkirat managed to beat 2 out of 3 of the 40kg girls as well as taking gold for her own group - an excellent performance. Taku won a silver in his group and Rohan took another bronze to add to his recent haul of medals.
The whole group was a pleasure to have at the event and I can't wait for their next outing.
Nine of our excellent young members came along for this day of fun. We started with a training session in the morning, followed by a BBQ lunch - we were very lucky the weather held. Then we started our fun tournament for beginners.
L-R: Rajan, Amir, James, Jonathan, Jack, Daniel & David enjoying the BBQ.
GOLD David Sookias
GOLD Rajan Sunda
SILVER Daniel Varey
SILVER Jonathan Sookias
SILVER Victoria Novakovic
BRONZE Johanna Barnes
BRONZE Kristina Novakovic
BRONZE Amir Asgari
BRONZE James Sookias
BRONZE Kiran de Silva
Eight EJC members fought at this tough British Squad selection event. In the 'B' band we had Phoebe and Harkirat up first. The girls ended up fighting each other for a bronze, decided by hantei at the end of golden score. Harkirat took the medal after great performances from both girls.
Ken had an uncharacteristically bad day, losing two out of 4 of his contests. He ended the day with no medal or placing, but a big desire to do better at the National Championships in October. Soraya also finished her day earlier than expected, but as always approached the result philosophically...
Lucy had a very good day. She swung easily back into form, being back at the top of the new age band. Winning her first 3 contests by the maximum ippon took her into the final, where she was beaten on a 5 point score by a girl from the Northern Area. Lucy's silver gives her a good number of points to bank prior to the Nationals so we are all looking forward to seeing her battle it out in Sheffield for a place on the squad.
Our happiest surprise of the day was from Akhil. He was sharp from the moment he stepped on to the mat. He won his first contest, narrowly beating another London Area boy - one he has never beaten before. He won his next 2 contests by ippon, taking him neatly into the semi-final. There he took victory against an old adversary and earned himself a place in the final. In a tightly fought contest Akhil unfortunately got caught for a yuko in golden score, giving him the silver. This medal is a tremendous achievement, especially when we consider he is born December 1995. This makes him possibly the youngest fighter in this category.
Below: Akhil with his silver medal.
In the Novice - 5th Kyu section Joe fought very well at -73kg, winning all but one contest with some excellent judo. He won a silver medal. In the +90kg section Misha managed to beat the eventual gold medalist but loses elsewhere left him with a bronze.
Then in the 4th - 1st Kyu section Lyam fought his first tournament for years. In the -73kg group he displayed some not so rusty standing work to finish the day with a very worthy silver. Taku fought in the lightest category of the day and was superb. He won all fights and brought home EJC's only gold of the day.
Every year we support this event and enjoy it very much. It is well worth entering, a fun day.
Another good day for Ealing Judo Club! In the Under 16 section Akhil, Harkirat & Lucy earned themselves bronze medals, with Soraya just missing out. Phoebe was on excellent form and pulled off a great silver, only losing her final by a koka in golden score. Rohan, however, was on fire... He took his group apart to rake in a gold for himself and the club.
Then in the under 20 section Rohan fought again and managed another medal. He fought 4 really tough bouts and was rewarded with a bronze for his efforts. Taku also fought in the under 20 section. He only lost to the strong Irish competitor in the group, in the semi, giving him a bronze too.
This was a first for EJC. We have never travelled to Austria before and the whole team was excited at the prospect. We flew into Bratislava in Slovakia and took a bus into Vienna from the airport. Our hotel was huge, with dojo-sized rooms - a luxurious change to our usual haunts! On the Sunday morning we left for the venue only to find, upon our arrival there, that the competition had been moved right across town. We had not been informed and were already tight for the weigh in. With some internet jiggery-pokery we managed to find out where it was now being held and we high-tailed out of there...
Once at the new venue we noticed there were fewer mat areas than advertised, but the event seemed to be running well and the organisers apologised for the mis-communication and we all weighed in.
First up was Lucy in the under 15 section. In Austria this group had armlocks and strangles. Lucy utilised this and for the first time in her judo career won a fight with an armlock. At the end of the day she had won a bronze - not bad for a 12 year old!
In the under 13 section Laurence fought bravely, ending his day in 5th place. Phoebe had a great day (again) and narrowly lost her final to a strong Austrian girl, giving our Tigger the silver. Harkirat demolished her group to take a terrific gold, to add to an impressive 2007 haul.
The day was pushing on and before the next two age bands were called to start we realised that we were starting to cut it quite fine with regard to catching our bus back to Bratislava. After some long and complex discussions with the organisers it was agreed to get our groups on the mat as quickly as possible.
In the under 11 age band Kai and Alexander gave it their best shot, but no medals this day. Then in the under 9 section, the youngest fighters' group, Showgo had an excellent run. He won his quarter final against a strong Slovenian, before losing his semi. In the bronze contest he showed great skill and determination on the ground and took the match without too much trouble. A bronze for Showgo!
With help from the event organisers we made it to the bus just in the nick of time and travelled safely home to Blighty. I was really proud of the whole team, who represented the club beautifully.
Only Ken and Taku competed at this lovely, friendly tournament on the other side of London. Each of the boys won gold in their own weight group and then did likewise in the open categories. It was an excellent day's judo from both of our Kawamotos.
One of the best weekends EJC has ever had! On Saturday our boys in the 'B' and 'C' bands took to the mat. Conor, having won a bronze at the 'A' band last year, was nervous about stepping up the age band. He put in a good performance - lots to build on and learn from for next year. No medal, but a satisfactory performance. Akhil was absolutely awesome, being just about the youngest boy in the 'B' band... He had 7 contests in total and at the end of the day only lost to one boy, another from London, but lost to him twice. This left Akhil with a very respectable 5th place. Ken did the job he had been aiming to do all year, in the same group as Akhil. He had 4 fights and won all by ippon, with a mixture of mature groundwork and standing techniques. He won his 3rd gold in a row at this event, making him one of the greatest fighters in Great Britain of any age.
In the 'C' band Taku was having an off day. I always think it is a show of real quality and talent when someone can have a bad day and still eke out a great result. Taku had 7 fights, none of them easy. He lost his quarter final to the boy from Vale, giving him 3 fights for a bronze. Taking it one fight at a time, with careful preparation before each Taku got into the bronze fight. This was a real nail-biter. With 11 seconds on the clock he was losing and needed a waza-ari or better to clinch the medal. Relying on a favourite technique Taku set up his opponent and pulled out the most heart-stopping ippon. He took the bronze and will now begin his run leading up to the Summer's Cadet Europeans.
Rohan, however, was not having an off day at all! Born '93 means he was at the younger end of the age band. Having been placed 7th last year in the 'B' band, but with a very positive training programme this year we weren't quite sure what to expect. In fact, what we got was 6 fantastic fights and only one loss, to the boy placed number two in the run up to last year's Cadet Europeans, and that loss was by a dodgy shido. Otherwise Rohan was so determined... and his reward was a bronze medal, his first National medal.
On Sunday our 4 girls in the 'B' band chased medals too. Soraya was unlucky not to make into the bronze contest, having had a favourable draw. Phoebe was the unluckiest fighter of the whole weekend, suffering at the hands of some very poor refereeing. Having lost her first match fair and square against the eventual National Champion she was then dealt a series of undeserved penalties against all other opponents. It's always so difficult to explain to a child how they lost when in your eyes they didn't. Children prepare for this event all year and I can only hope that Phoebe realises how talented she is and sticks with it.
Harkirat, having won the 'A' band last year was feeling a bit of pressure to do well in her new age band. She fought like a Trojan winning her first fight on the ground and then her semi with some hard fought standing play. In the final she had the strong Stratford girl, who also medalled last year. About half way through the final Harkirat managed to catch her for a yuko and hold on to it until the bell. She looked almost shocked at being National Champion for a second year running, but to be honest, anyone who works as hard as she does deserves rewards.
Then to Lucy, who has really stuck to her training programme too. She went up to -63kg only a few weeks ago, always a tough call before a national event, especially as she fought the Heart of England at -57kg. She didn't want to lose the points she had gained, but we decided to stick with the new weight, thinking about the future, rather than worrying just about the Squad places for this year. Fairly confident of a good result anyway we turned up to the arena on Sunday morning only to find out that there was only one other fighter in the -63kg group. This was not a good thing, as the BJA had taken the decision not to give out all the medals to smaller groups. I think this is an appauling way to treat our young talent, as it is never their fault if not many enter one group. All turn up in good faith wanting to compete. Taking away a national medal really is a big deal to these kids and who is to say that even if only two turn up that both aren't fantastic fighters who may one day get to a World Championships - why discourage them now?
Anyway, Lucy new she had to win to take gold, knowing the silver medal would not be presented. This played on her mind, especially as she had to wait all day for her final. She helped all our other girls warm up and so stayed focussed and warm herself throughout the day. When the time came she was superb. She threw her opponent immediately and held her for ippon, to become National Champion.
At the end of the weekend we had claimed 3 golds and 2 bronzes, a haul like no other year for our little club. Having only been up and running for 4 years this was an amazing result for EJC. Once back at home I totted up the medals won by all clubs and was even more thrilled to discover that we had moved right up to 3rd best club in the country - to be honest I'm still not sure I believe it, but it does seem to be true. Below is the top ten on the medal table. It was extraordinary to see us above the likes of Moberly and Wolverhampton. Gives us a bit of a headache for next year though - beating that will be a tough task!
Since the Nationals 6 EJC members have been invited on to the England squad for 2008. Harkirat, Lucy, Akhil, Rohan, Ken & Taku will all take their places up in Dartford in November. Well done to all of them - for the last 2 years EJC has had just 2 fighters on the Cadet squad so this is a vast improvement.
On the first day in the under 12 Mini-Mon section our 3 boys performed excellently, with Kai narrowly missing out on a medal, Ali taking a superb silver and then Daniel repeating Ali's efforts to win a second silver for the team. This was especially pleasing for Daniel, for whom this was a debut outside the club environment.
Harkirat, Eliot and Soraya refereed today too - well done to them.
On day 2 Akhil was outstanding in the under 12 section, winning gold with little to challenge him. David, however did not have as easy a day and after some tough, eye-opening contests came away with no medal, but a lot of experience.
Then in the under 16 section Harkirat took a gold, with Soraya and Rohan winning bronzes. Lucy had a harder day, narrowly losing out on a bronze medal.
Ali fought excellently at this event and after 5 well matched contests he finally succumbed to another London boy, to leave Ali in 5th place. David fresh and ready since last week's experience, fought with a new drive. He won two contests with great determintation and then lost his final to a strong East London boy. This gave David a superb silver - his first medal at an open event. Eliot then finished our day off in style, winning both his contests with great confidence, to provide him with a deserved gold medal.
A welcome return to competition for Conor, who fought well but didn't make the rostrum this time. Phoebe and Harkirat had each other to deal with in the u36kg group and ended their day with a silver and a bronze respectively.
It's not often that you take 4 fighters to an event and all four come home with gold, but that is exactly what happened at this fun day. Boo, Marko, Amir and Matthieu all did the business! This was Luke's (Boo's) first gold - not bad for a 2 year old! It wasn't a fix... honest!
It was a really enjoyable event, including a fancy dress parade and a selection of ghoulish treats on offer...
David is progressing in leaps and bounds at the moment. He was our only fighter at this event and he was fantastic, pulling off his second final place in as many weeks. Another silver to add to his growing collection. Very well done to him.
Ken and Taku fought at this welcoming and fun event in Huntingdon. Ken won a gold and Taku a silver, but then in the over 45kg open section the boys reversed this result when they met each other in the final. Real fireworks ensued, but Taku couldn't let the little brother beat him and finally won on a Yuko. Both Kawamotos fought with great spirit and sportsmanship - well done.
This was such an enjoyable occasion for the club! We started with a low key fun tournament-type event. Following that there was soup, bread and cookies for all particpants and spectators and then a great fireworks display. All the children had sparklers and the club's parents did a great job organising and delivering the display. There were some pretty spectacular starbursts and everyone stayed safe.
The results of the competition were:
GOLD Bojan Cecaric
GOLD Paul Duarte
GOLD Luka Kljutic
GOLD Elliot Hawkins-Ahmed
GOLD Hanna Toogood
SILVER Maxime Cacaly
BRONZE Jonathan Sookias
BRONZE Daniel Vary
Daniel and Johanna fought this event. Neither fighter has had a lot of experience of competition so it was a good event for them. Daniel had 4 tough contests and Johanna had 3. Each won a bronze and is now ready for their next tournament challenge, just before Christmas.
Three of our brave young fighters flew to Germany for this tough International meet. The brothers Legon, Alexander and Laurence, gave it their best shot but came away without medals. However David Sookias, following the club training programme in the lead up to the National 'A' Band Championships, fought out of his skin, displaying determination and some good groundwork. He had 4 contests and brought home a fantastic bronze medal.
The team also got to take in the sights of Berlin, visiting the Berlin Wall during the weekend.
This event was one of our most enjoyable of 2006 so when the opportunity arose to compete at it again we jumped at the chance. Although there were supposed to be 7 players in each team we were unlucky to have to travel with only 5... but what a 5! Akhil, Ken, Eliot, Harkirat and Phoebe had a great day, taking on the all-Belgian opposition. The team ended the day with a bronze, having a lot of fun on the way to earning it. Well done to the whole team.
A tough day for our two young fighters. Eliot fought some hard fights but was unable to secure a medal. He now has a better idea of how much there is to do to get to the top level at a National event and so will be more prepared for next year.
David, though, stuck to his recent form and fought like a true warrior. Having followed his training programme to the letter he managed to exceed expectations, pulling off a fabulous bronze medal. It was a proud moment for him, his parents and the club. Well done David.
Below is David (far right) on the rostrum.
Taku and Rohan came along to fight for experience. Both fought well and are now ready to train to seriously contest the event next year.
The brothers Bist were at it again today. Akhil fought superbly, as has become the trend, only losing to a national silver medalist in the final to take a silver for himself. Rohan took a bronze.
Two brave tiny mighties took on this challenge and both were victorious! Tiny Luke won a great silver and Marius followed that up by matching the achievement. Well done to both boys.
We went along to Harlow today with a few fighters looking for some fun. Our red belt boys team fought well and earned themselves a bronze. David was in an orange belt team with bioys from another club. That team won silver. Sadly our girls and seniors had no-one to fight and although they each took gold it was not a satisfying day. It's a shame more clubs don't participate in these small club level team events - they are so rare and can be exciting for all concerned. I hope the event is better supported next year.
A very well attended Christmas championships indeed. The children all fought superbly. Here are the EJC results:
GOLD Bojan Cecaric
GOLD Sam Butcher
GOLD James Sookias
GOLD Amir Asgari
GOLD Ankur Dodhia
GOLD Elliot Hawkins-Ahmed
SILVER Jonathan Sookias
SILVER Luka Kljutic
SILVER Mathilde Cacaly
SILVER Kamran Hatami
SILVER Maxime Cacaly
SILVER Pierre Maillefaud
BRONZE Matthew Butcher
BRONZE Daniel Vary
EJC would like to wish every member and visitor and viewer a great Christmas and a happy and safe new year.
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