DJC @ The British Schools Championships
The 16th & 17th of March saw DJC make the long trip to the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield for the British Schools Championships.
This is only the 2nd year we have attended and last year Maria came away with a Bronze medal so this year we were hoping we might be able to have similar success.
This competition is an 'Overnighter' and our players and parents are still adjusting to this unique situation. They are not currently that common but as our players continue to progress they will become a much more regular occurence
The Schools is unique in that the players do not actually represent their club but the school that they attend(although i didn't see many PE teachers in attendance), for ease and to help my brain i have not mentioned individual schools in the below report
Coaches were myself on Day One with support from Simon and myself and Ros on Day Two
We had Maria, Ellie, Reuben and Callum in action, all of whom were due onto the mat at vastly different times with Reuben on at 10am and Callum due on at 17.30!
Reuben has had a tough few months with his broken hand and some very tough higher level competitions, coupled with being in the younger year of his weight group also meant taking on older boys, his first contest was competitive but he sadly just missed out, quickly onto his 2nd and this was a big Ippon win for Reuben with O-Soto-Gari who was in control for the whole contest this then resulted with a bye in the next round meaning he then fought for a place in the Bronze medal final but sadly just missed out getting caught with drop seoi nage(which we will be doing more work on as that throw is the scourge of P-Cadet and Cadet categories) 7th place for Reuben with a fantastic performance and his journey continues
Maria has been one of our top performing girls this year, taking medals at the Midlands and English Open, The day turned out to be a very tough one and she was a little tired and her nerves were much more heightened than usual, A mistake by the officials in her group also meant that certain results were overturned and certain fights had to be re-run, despite winning 4 fights on the bounce(though the result sheet does not show this!) Maria just missed out in the bronze medal final but took a very credible 5th place again being in the younger year bracket, This competition proved to be a very good learning experience and i have no doubt she will come back stronger
Ellie has been in a difficult position of late being so close to the -44 weight sometimes only by 100grams or so, she took the decision to fight in U44's at this event, She started off well again winning 3 fights in a row but slightly lacked her usual zip and power that has been so present in the -48's
Ellie fought through to the Bronze medal final and in the end just missed out, 5th place was not what she wanted and moving forward i feel -48's will be her weight. Ellie has had almost 3 years away from the sport at her most formative age and the rapid improvement upon her return to Drake is plain for all to see - expect big things from Ellie this year
Callum came later than most to Judo and so has had a somewhat unorthodox pathway, not doing the usual competitions etc but after his Gold Medal at the WA Schools this would be his first big test. His first contest was very very close with his opponent literally hanging on in some cases, sadly Callum just missed out in the end and moved into the next contest against a higher graded player from the Public School of Harrow! this was a tight affair with Callum coming out on top and moving to fight for Bronze against a Russian Boy who had a former 3 time European Champion flown from Russia especially to coach him, The Russian boy was awesome BUT Callum did very well, scoring a Wazari early and managing the rest of the contest with his sutemi waza for a very well deserved Bronze medal, and despite myself having a row with the Russian coach(he didn't speak English) i managed too communicate with him by saying 'Neit' a lot! also it turned out th boy he lost to in his first contest took gold
Maddox from SBJC had the unenviable task of being in the biggest group by some way and despite performing well and winning two contests he didn't make it to the cross over, again he is bottom of the age and will continue his rapid improvement this year, sadly i was unable to coach him personally
Vita from RJC had a fantastic day in a huge group she also won 4 contests on the trot to reach the bronze medal match and just missed out but finished with an extremely impressive 5th place
Joab from WPJC lost his first but beat everyone else in sight to take a bronze and prove who the real Judo talent in his family is!! - big things coming for this boy
Pierre from SBJC - Pierre's group weighed in at 10am and i was sat mat side with him at 19.30, Pierre is a multiple Schools Champion but he just did not have much luck on the day and suffered from some bad calls(which i was witness to!) and he finished with a 5th place in only his 2nd comp at U73's against a boy i would say he beats 99 time out a hundred,
This was Phoebes first large National competition experience and she was very nervous but still behaved extremely professionally. She was the only player not to receive a bye in the first round and sadly came up against the eventual Gold Medallist who appeared to be some sort of Ninja and would have probably given Ben Fletcher a run for his money! :) She then moved into her second fight where she was very dominant and a Wazari up but just had one of those moments we all have in judo and got countered, still she remains by a long way the youngest player we have had at this level and has at least 2 years head start on the older girls at Drake
Bogdan looked a Million Dollars on tday two, weighing a perfect 54 kilos and it showed! he won his first contest very convincingly and then moved through the group very professionally and met Jayden from Bristol in the semi final, Bogdan beat Jayden at the British Minors almost 2 years ago and sadly had not beaten him since losing on at least 6 or 7 occasions, this time was a complete contrast, Gary will be especially happy with his contest management being in control the whole time and moving onto the final, Bogdan came so close with a seoi-nage Ko-Uchi combo but just got countered with and Ura Nage and took a very well earned Silver.
Alanna found herself in one of the biggest groups she has fought in, with 6 other girls, including long time opponent TJ from Kazoku, Ros was in the chair and i was able to watch most of Alanna's contests from the screens in the warm up area. It is the best ive seen her perform of late, using her own unique style she very narrowly missed out in her first contest(against the eventual winner), but then went on a great run winning all of her remaining contests, including rival TJ and in her last contest beat a National Champion who weighed almost 80 kilos! A sliver medal then for her efforts, a wonderful performance!
Delphine from SBJC
DD had a perfect day and the perfect attitude and produced some brilliant Judo to progress through her group and then into the semi finals where she took on a national medallist and remained calm despite throwing the girl for a clear ippon it being called a Wazari and then having a Wazari wiped off and to my disgust being told to change her under shirt and then her jacket before the contest despite it being her 4th fight and having gone through IJF judogi control, In the final she beat a girl from RUSH Judo with(again Gary and Steve will be very pleased) wonderful contest management! GOLD for DD
Trystan from Kingsley School - gold for Trystan, i didn't get to see any of his contests but its no surprise as he has been on fire this year
Jersey from Kingsley School - Bronze another excellent performance from jersey coming back though the reprecharge to win Bronze despite giving Simon a heart attack after misplacing her licence!
Gareth from Kingsley School, tough day for Gareth who i believe took a 5th place, Hopefully we are going to get Gareth and Callum together for some training as I'm sure they will both benefit from it
TJ from KJC - TJ had a tough day but has only just come back from injury and picked up a well earned bronze
CC from KJC who is teeny tiny did very well at this first time level comp and took a Bronze
Overall from Drake we took
A huge progression from last year