It was an eventful day at the SSE Arena, Wembley on the first day of the 2015 British Open Championships. The European Cup featured seven weight categories with athletes competing throughout the day for the prestigious title of British Open Champion.
Ashley MCKENIZE kept on setting and beating his own records for the fastest ippon of the day. Throwing all four of his opponents for ippon, McKenzie spent less than five minutes [a single contest time] in action throughout the day. This incredible performance demonstrates his talent and determination. In the final, he stunned Maria Carmine DI LORETO (ITA) to claim his fifth British Open title in the -60kg category. He was also awarded player of the day.
In the -57kg category French fighter Laure FOURNIER, representing Camberley Judo Club, claimed the bronze medal.
The majority of the -66kg category was dominated by home competitors. Both, Nathon BURNS and Samuel HALL had three contests before they found themselves opposite each other in the final. A counter attack by Hall in the last 30 seconds left Burns with Silver. Club mate James Martin finished with a 7th place in the same category.
Pan-American Open winner [San-Salvador 2015], Danny WILLIAMS started off the day by defeating Ermes TOSOLONI (ITA) by waza-ari. The same score helped him to win against Connor Ireland [who won bronze later on] to then meet Colin OATES in the final. This match up brought much excitement for the players as well as the crowd at The SSE Arena, Wembley. A shido each was the start of this match up before Oates scored for a waza-ari. Half-way into the contest Williams managed to bounce back with a yuko score but with five seconds remaining Williams countered Oates for a waza-ari to earn the gold medal.
Danny Williams said: “The first British Open I attended was about 10 years ago so coming back and winning a medal and it happens to be a gold I am really pleased… Judo is one of the sports where you get into the final one day and but then lose in the first round the next weekend. As a team at Camberley, we have all been performing well recently, a big thanks to our coach, Luke Preston and everyone who supports us at CJC.”
The second day of the 2015 British Open brought action from the remaining eight categories in the SSE Arena, Wembley.
In the -81kg final, long-time rivals, Tom REED and Owen LIVESEY faced each other again. This was the fourth time in six months that these two have battled for gold. Livesey, as usual, arrived to the Arena in style and delivered some astonishing throws throughout the day. Progressing all the way to the finals, where he threw Reed first for waza-ari before topping it up with a yuko to then bow out as the winner of the category and also BJA player of the day. This is the first time that Livesey has won a British Open title. OL: “I am happy with my performance today. I have been training really hard and it is my first gold at the British Open so I am really pleased…It is always nice to fight in front of the home crowd as you can have your family come and watch, they don’t often get to watch as we spend a fair amount of time abroad…Tom and me fought four times already but I knew what I had to do to win and I just focused on my tactics and did it.”
In the -90kg category final we witnessed another British battle between Andrew BURNS and Frazer CHAMBERLAIN. Burns’ ne-waza skills helped him to take the final victory after holding down his opponent leaving Camberley’s Frazer with Silver.
Another successful weekend with CJC bringing home 3 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 bronze and a 7th place. Next up is Chinese Taipei World Cup.