DJC @ The British Schools Championships
The first really BIG event on the DJC calendar meant a trip oop norf to Sheffield for Lottie and Jack, together with their associated taxi drivers, yours truly and Tony. For Lottie; the British Schools Championship represented the culmination of over a years worth blood, sweat and considerable tears - just meeting the entry requirements was a phenomenal achievement. For Jack; the championships gave a further opportunity to show progress from his injury last year and a chance to re-establish his status on the pecking order.
Jack had the somewhat dubious honour of being in the very first fight of the day, as his group had swelled to 21 after the weigh in and so was bumped up the running order. Nerves of steel meant a win to get the day off well. A loss in the next to the judoka that would eventually win the gold meant a battle through the repechage. The next fight was heading for a draw but then a shido with 2 seconds remaining meant that was the end of the day (this event was still run under the 'old' rules). Regrettably Lottie and I arrived just after Jack had finished and after pleasantries, the DJC batten was passed on.
After a somewhat cosy night in the local Travelodge, Lottie's day didn't start too well as her licence card had disappeared from her book. A trip to the referees desk sorted things out and then upon rejoining the weigh in queue a friend went "what's that?" and lo and behold the card was found. Phew.
The wait for Lottie's group seemed indeterminable and seemed to unsettle her. Two losses meant that the trip back south would be a somber affair, but upon reflection there was considerable pride in actually getting to the event.
Heartfelt thanks to Justin Allen from Hoshi JC for giving our judoka some much needed mat side coaching support, Jake and Amber for helping Lottie with her warm up and for their super supportive advice. Hopefully, there will be opportunities for our respective judoka to train together - Jake and Jack are about the same weight and there is another Hoshi judoka about the same age, grade and weight as Lottie. Exciting times for these two judoka but also for all our players.
A hard event at this stage of the journey that our judoka are travelling. Lots of positives and more experience in the memory banks to put into play in randori and at the second of the three major championships for our judoka in 2017: the BJC Open Championships at the end of April!
(did you know that the British Schools used to also serve as the National Championships and was won by Drake Judo club founder Charles Knape? - now you do!)