Over 320 judoka were in action at K2, Crawley, with 29 countries represented in the two-day long event. Camberley Judo Club fielded 12 athletes from the Elite team with high hopes for several rostrum finishes.
Beginning with the lightest weight, Liam Franklin -60kg was defeated by the eventual bronze medallist from France in the first round, his repechage fight went to time but he lost on a small score and exited the competition.
-66kg saw 4 CJC fighters battling it out against 27 competitors, they were Andrew Panayi, Aaron Turner, James Martin and Nathon Burns. James and Aaron both won their first matches to join Nathon (who’d received a bye) in the second round. Club mate Andrew lost to an Austrian and had to wait to see if he would get another shot in the repechage as did James and Aaron after second round losses to Netherlands and France respectively. Meanwhile Nathon was showing his experience, drawing away from the pack. He defeated Leduc of France and Degen of Netherlands, both with shimewaza (strangles) for ippon, despite sustaining a significant ankle injury to progress to the semi-final.
James and Aaron did get a second bite of the apple as the Judokas who defeated them progressed further in the competition but no such luck for Andrew this time. In the repechage Aaron and James both started well beating a Slovakian and Italian respectively. Next Aaron faced Ben Ali from France, he lost to the more experienced fighter but could be pleased with his overall performance during the day. James, new to the weight category was giving an excellent account of himself. He won his second fight of the repechage against Tiefgraber of Austria, with a fantastic uchi mata for ippon, to progress further and face Degen of France. James’ day finished there as he was unable to overcome Degen and settled for a respectable 7th place.
In the semi-final and looking quite unstable on his injured ankle Nathon put in a good performance but was unable to secure the win, dropping him into the bronze medal match. After discussions with the medical team and Head coach Luke Preston, Nathon withdrew from the medal contest as it wasn’t safe to continue with the badly injured ankle. Nathon finished with a 5th place and no doubt much frustration as it was clear without injury he could have been on the medal rostrum.
In -73kg Lasha Lekishvili had a lively fight with Cavallera of France, the fight went to time but Lasha lost to the eventual bronze medallist with several scores against him on the board. Young fighter George Cullum had a tough draw, losing both contests to opponents who finished 5th in this large weight of 36 competitors. Plenty more years for both -73k CJC fighters to come back and seek revenge.
Another busy weight for CJC, Owen Livesey, Lee Shinkin and Aaron Asplin all vying for success at -81kg. Early exits for Lee and Aaron left it to Owen to bring home a medal. Beginning his conquest by beating Wolterbeek of Netherlands he then defeated Centre of Excellence athlete Max Stewart to move into the quarter finals. Here he faced Miccoli of Netherlands who he had beaten before, it wasn’t meant to be this time and Owen faced the tough task of fighting through the repechage towards the bronze medal. Looking like a man on a mission, he dispatched off Schneider of Austria and then Cardoso of Portugal to progress into the bronze medal match against Bottieau of Belgium. Again victorious he threw for a small score and later in the contest secured a hold down after a weak attack from his opponent to win the bronze. In the other bronze medal contest, Tom Reed placed fifth after losing to David Miccoli of the Netherlands.
Frazer Chamberlain was up next in -90kg, with a first round bye he then beat De Vreeze from Netherlands but lost in the quarter final to Portuguese fighter Delgado. In the repechage Frazer started strong, he defeated De Jonge from Netherlands and then Glusac of Serbia putting him in the bronze medal match against fellow GBR fighter Gary Hall. Frazer was overcome by the British fighter on this occasion and finished with a 5th place.
In +100kg Dan Harvey was unable to make his mark losing to the eventual bronze medallist on his first fight and then an Italian the repechage.
Well done to all of the CJC fighters, as always mixed emotions but across the board encouraging performances from the Elite team showing that their hard work is paying off. Also a big well done to the mini CJC warriors who volunteered to be player chaperones over the weekend, you all looked very smart and did CJC proud!