CJC quartet, Aaron Turner (U66), Owen Livesey (U81), Frazer Chamberlain (U90) and Szandra Szogedi (U63) travelled around Europe to gain qualification points towards the next Olympic Games.
The first destination was Tallinn, Estonia, which showcased some of the world’s best male and female competitors. Turner started the first day winning two contests, against Orkhan Hajiagali (AZE) and Andraz Jereb (SLO). In the quarter-finals he faced Diego Cressi (ITA). Turner held the lead until the very end of the contest when the Italian executed a waza-ari score which dropped Turner in to the repechage.
In the repechage, the CJC fighter faced Islam Kametov (RUS. The Russian competitor was on form and beat Turner leaving him to settle for 7th place. On the same day, Szogedi started off with a bye which put her straight into the quarter-finals, here she faced the eventual bronze medallist, Emma Barkeling (SWE). Szogedi dominated the contest, however a less controlled attack saw her countered which cost her the contest and put her in the repechage.
Starting confidently against Rotem Shor (ISR), Szogedi executed an Ippon throw to take a step closer toward a medal. In the bronze medal match, Szogedi was facing Karolina Talach (POL), a close match but towards the end of the contest Tallach gained a score to book her spot on the podium. Szogedi finished with 5th place.
The following day it was time for Livesey and Chamberlain. Chamberlain had an early exit after a loss against Li Kochman (ISR). Meanwhile, Livesey secured his first win against Jevgeni Salejev (EST). On his way to the quarter finals, he was challenged by last years’ winner and eventual gold medallist, Neal Van de Kamer (NED). The two fought a close battle but the Dutch judoka scored towards the end of the contest securing the win.
Shortly after returning from Tallinn, all four CJC players departed again, off to the next destination. The men were heading to Lisbon, Portugal whilst the female players were off to Glasgow, Scotland.
It was early exit for both, Turner and Szogedi on the first day. In Lisbon, Turner received an unlucky draw and in his first fight he faced the eventual winner, Yu Yamaki (JPN). Meantime, in Glasgow, Szogedi didn’t have her best day either. She was first challenged by Amy Livesey (GBR), where a loss settled her straight into the repechage, where German competitor Nadja Bazynski (GER) was also on better form seeing Szogedi exit the competition disappointed.
CJC fate took a turn for the better on the second day in Lisbon where Chamberlain fought his way straight into the final. He overcame Tiago Rodriquez (POR), Celio Dias (POR) and Andrew Burns (GBR). The CJC fighter looked unstoppable until the finals where David Ruiz Zajac (ESP) took the fight to golden score and finished Chamberlains winning streak leaving him to settle for silver. On the same day, Livesey was unable to replicate his team mate’s success this time and had an early exit after being defeated by Ilya Kokovich (RUS) in the first round.
The next event will be the Welsh Open and the Abu-Dhabi Grand Slam for our elite team.