Team JFAUK have now returned from Thessaloniki, Greece whereby they took a total of 17 medals. 9 Gold, 4 Silver and 4 Bronze. The JFAUK judoka truly shined brightly at this international tournament which drew judoka from various countries across Europe. Well done to all of the team.
Day 1 of the Matsuura international Cup saw the JFAUK Veterans and Special needs judoka step to the tatami. In total JFAUK took away 5 medals from 3 competitors.
Starting the day was Karl Summerbell, competing in the -71kg para-athlete category. Karl stormed through his category, taking the gold comfortably. Due to his fantastic performance and a low number of entries in his category, he was then invited to take part in a category of similar weighted, able-bodied judoka. Karl fought exceptionally well and made it through to the final. In the final, he was up by a Wazari, however was caught by a Greek judoka in the final seconds. Despite this, it was a truly expeditionary achievement.
Next up was Chris Cooper in the Veterans +100kg category. Chris found himself with a gold medal around his neck after executing fantastic kyushindo judo against Greek judoka. Not satisfied with just one gold meal, Chris then entered the open and continued his form, taking on opponent after opponent, executing clean ippon throws to take the gold.
Finally, -79kg Veteran judoka Jason Baird took to the tatami and made his way into the final with swift and precise Ne-Waza techniques. In the final, he narrowly lost by a decision against a Greek judoka, leaving him with a well deserved silver medal. A fantastic day for the team who truly set the standard high for the next days judoka.
On day 2 of the competition, Team JFAUK had a successful day, coming away with 12 medals.
First up was Sam Sampson in the men's -79kg category. Sam defeated Bulgarian and Greek judoka with swift ashi waza and fast ne-waza on his way to the final whereby he scored a wazari against a Greek judoka, later finishing the Greek off with a hold down to secure the gold medal.
Sam Charalambous was up next in the men's -75kg category. Sam started his day off well, defeating a Greek judoka by wazari. Sam unfortunately lost his following fights against a Bulgarian and Greek, leaving him with the Bronze medal. However, redemption was certainly on the cards as Sam Charalambous later entered the open category and managed to execute some superb throws and hold downs in order to take the gold! In addition to this, Sam was later awarded his 2nd Dan due to his technical prowess and string of impressive domestic and international performances, which includes a bronze medal at the CSIT World Sport Games last week!
Following Sam, the JFAUK ladies, Hannah Chesham and Lucia Pascali took to the tatami. Hannah and Lucia both worked their way though their category, both using fantastic ne-waza and big hip throws before meeting one another on the semi-final. Hannah managed to secure the win this time, leaving Lucia with a well deserved bronze medal. Hannah went off to face a Bulgarian judoka in the final, and Hannah spared little time securing a tight juji gatame to take the gold. The ladies weren't finished just yet as they then entered the open category, however both fell short to a much heavier woman, with Hannah taking the silver, and Lucia taking a second bronze.
It was the turn of Ross Elliot next, in the men's -100kg category. Ross made light work of his opponents, executing big throws in his way to the final. In a repeat of the Miyazaki cup final earlier this year, Ross faced the same Greek judoka, however quickly executed a cross grip Osoto Gari to take the gold.
Alex Charalambous stepped back on to the international tatami for the first time in four years next in the men's -68kg category. Alex started his day with a fantastic Uchi Mata before dispatching the rest of his opponents on the way to the final. There, he faced an experienced Greek judoka in a fight that went the distance, however the Greek managed to take the win due to a very close wazari score earlier in the match, leaving Alex with a silver medal.
Alexis Bardini then made his way into the contest area in the men's -71kg category, facing an all Greek pool. Alexis used excellent ne-waza to finish his opponents in order to earn his place in the gold medal match. There, he executed a dynamic cross grip Tai Otoshi to secure his gold medal.
Finally, Adam Brown made his international debut in the men's +100kg category, taking home the gold medal. Not satisfied with just one medal, Adam then entered the Open category and ended up fighting his way to a Bronze medal against experienced opponents.
Overall a truly fantastic two days of competition for team JFAUK, taking away 17 medals from 11 competitors. Well done to all!