The Camberley Judo Club annual black tie gala dinner returned to Pennyhill Park Hotel on 1st March in spectacular style. The event originated in 2009 to raise much needed funds for the Surrey Going For Gold charity, supporting local athletes aiming for the Olympic Games. The premise of the evening is a champagne reception and four course meal with entertainment provided by Camberley Judo Club taking on a National team in a thrilling tournament. Originally pitted against an Australian team, the event was nicknamed ‘The Ashes’ which has stuck ever since, despite last year’s opponents being the Welsh and this year’s being strong German Team Russelsheim.
The exclusive event was attended by 150 spectators, including Sir Clive Woodward and the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Tim Dodds. The evening kicked off with veteran TV presenter Richard Keys interviewing 3 time Olympian and 7 time World Medallist Karina Bryant, one of GB’s best hopes for an Olympic medal for judo in London this year. Next up Nathon Burns and Danny Williams put on a memorable display for the crowd which drew gasps of admiration as they demonstrated exactly why judo is one of the most skillful and dynamic sports.
The first match of the evening was Danny Williams against his German opponent Tobias Schirra in the -73kg category. As the fight began there was little to choose between the two fighters but Williams’ superior fitness showed in the final minute as he scored with two big throws to take the first win of the night. Next up was Frazer Chamberlain who made short work of Max Klyk in -90kg, winning by a huge throw in under a minute.
Samantha Lowe, who has recently returned from a 9 month layoff due to injury, had perhaps the hardest task as she took on World Cup Gold Medallist Barbara Bandel at -78kg. It was a gruelling fight, being stopped at one point for Lowe to wipe away the blood after receiving a blow to the mouth, but eventually this close match was won by the German representative.
The -66kg clash was another closely matched bout between British Championship Silver Medallist Nathon Burns and German Championship Silver Medallist Frank Conrad. The two fighters put on an enthralling show for the crowd, displaying fast paced and exciting judo, but in the end there was nothing to choose between them and the result was a drawn contest. This left the score as 2-1 to Camberley going into the final contest, so the pressure was on Tom Davis to bring it home as he took on Sebastian Apitz in -81kg. In the end he won the match with ease, making the final score 3-1 to Camberley Judo Club and retaining their 3 year unbeaten run at this event.
The evening concluded with a raffle and a series of auctions for those attending to bid to financially support the club’s top judoka, which will be utilised for living and training costs.
The event raised a phenomenal £22,000 for the Surrey Going For Gold Charity. Camberley Coach Luke Preston said, “The money raised is fantastic and benefits individual players with training and competition costs as well as the club as a whole. This year was the best event ever and I’d like to thank everyone that supported us”.
Camberley Judo Club is still looking for support for players in the lead up to London 2012 Olympics and beyond. If you are interested in becoming involved with the charity in this unique and exciting Olympic period please contact us for more information email@example.com