Three members of the Elite Team at Camberley Judo Club represented Great Britain at the 2012 European Championships in Chelyabinsk, the last opportunity to collect valuable World ranking points for London 2012. Out of 21 fighters in the GB team Camberley’s Karina Bryant took the only medal.
The first of our judokas to take to the stage was young Camberley fighter Danny Williams who competed in the -73kg weight category, he drew French fighter Gilles Bonhomme. A very intense match crammed full of action saw Williams narrowly edged out of the fight despite a huge effort which saw him dominate the majority of the contest.
Next up it was Winston Gordon’s turn to step to the mat. The double Olympian produced a huge throw to dispatch Polish champion Krzysztof Weglarz-an old adversary of Gordon’s. This meant Winston would now face tournament favourite Varlam Liparteliani from Georgia. Gordon put up a brave effort but he could not get past the young Georgian who went on to be crowned European Champion.
On the final day of the individual tournament Karina Bryant, Four-time European champion and three-time Olympian, took to the mat. Her first match was against France’s 2007 European bronze medallist Ketty Mathe, Bryant’s experience and stamina helped her win and progress to the next round. Another win, this time by a 5 point score against Carola Uilenhoed of the Netherlands put her into the semi final fight. Now facing three-time European champion and World number 6, Elena Ivashchenko of Russia, Bryant had a battle on her hands. Ivashchenko scored a 5 point score and finally won by 10 points when Karina chased the score at the end of the contest.
Dropping down to the Bronze medal contest Karina met Bosnia-Herzegovina’s former junior world champion Larisa Ceric. Bryant looked dominant and in control, almost 2 minutes into the contest she unleashed a massive sleeve throw securing a 5 points score. Karina sealed the deal with a 10 point throw winning herself a place on the medal rostrum and the bronze medal. This success puts Karina in a very strong position ahead of Olympic selections later this month.
The European Championships for Teams was the final spectacle at this event. With Karina and Winston both protecting injuries it was up to young Danny Williams to lead the charge. Danny first took revenge against Bonhomme from France and then threw Sezer Huysuz from Turkey to help the British men’s team finish 5th in Europe-narrowly losing to Poland in the bronze medal contest.