Congratulations to Sobell Judoka Karl Summerbell, Hannah Chesham, Sebastian Eriksen, Benjamin Eriksen, Samuel Charalambous, Sam Sampson and Alexis Bardini who travelled with team JFAUK to Greece for the 2018 WJF European Championships. Full write up from JFAUK below.
First on the tatami was Karl Summerbell defending his Para-athlete European Title. In his first fight, Karl used an Osoto Gari, scoring a Wazari before transitioning info a Kesa gatame, then Tati Shiho Gatame and then finishing of the fight with a clean Juji Gatame. Coming into his next fight, Karl managed to rotate out of his opponents throw, then once again secure the win with Ne-Waza with a Tati Shiho Gatame. Superb work by Karl who is now 2x WJF European Champion in the para athlete category!
Up next was Jason Baird in the Veterans -79kg category. Coming up against a Bulgarian in the first fight, Jason was unlucky in the early stages falling short to a Wazari. However, as the fight continued Jason worked extremely hard in Ne-Waza before attempting a flying Juji Gatame in the final seconds. Jason succeed with applying the technique, fully extending his opponents arm, however as his leg went over, his foot cut his the Bulgarians head, which bled immediately, and in the confusion Jason’s technique was nullified and not counted, resulting in Jason unluckily losing his fight. Next, Jason was up against a Greek judoka and utilised transitional Ashi Waza to score an Ippon. Afterwards, Jason was up against another Bulgarian, unfortunately losing to a Juji Gatame himself. Finally, Jason found himself against another Greek judoka in the Bronze Medal contest and was sure not to leave empty handed this time as he took over the Greek judoka to score an Ippon and put his hands on the Bronze Medal.
Next was Hannah Chesham taking on the Womens -78 kg category. In her first fight, Hannah took on an Italian judoka, unfortunately falling short to an Ippon throw mid-way through the fight. Next, Hannah found herself against a Greek Judoka, and motivated by her first loss, scored an enormous Tani Otoshi to claim the win, and silver medal.
The first of the Juniors, Benjamin Eriksen made his way to the contest area next. Benjamin made short work of his first opponent, using transitional judo to stifle his opponents attack and move into ne-waza, holding his opponent down with a Kesa Gatame to secure the win. Following this, Benjamin utilised a a big Ippon Seoi Nage to throw his next opponent and claim the gold medal.
The final Judoka of the day was Sebastian Eriksen who was keen to follow the path laid out by his older brother. Not rattled by pre-competition nerves, Sebastian dispatched of his first opponent, also with an Ippon Seoi Nage before securing the win in his second fight with a Kesa Gatama variation to take him the Eriksen family’s second gold medal of the day.
Before the tatami was closed for the day, a short Veterans Team event took place between two mixed country teams, with JFAUK’s Jason Baird stepping up for the red team, who eventually took gold.
A big thank you also goes to JFAUK International Referee Samuel Betu who has continued to work alongside the WJF Referee Committee throughout this trip, assisting with the running of this tournament. Without people like Samuel in the wider WJF team, these events would not be possible.
All in all a fantastic day for JFAUK, and today’s judoka have certainly set the bar high. Tonight, half the team will celebrate whilst the others rest. Good luck to tomorrow’s team!
Day 2 of the WJF European Championships followed suit of the first day, with team JFAUK coming away with a plethora of medals
Up first was 2016 WJF European Champion Sam Sampson who was looking to claim his second WJF European Gold in the new weight class of -83kg. Up first was a Greek opponent. Sam took his time to get going and worked through tough grips to finally execute a flying juji gatame and score ippon. Up next was yet another Greek opponent who Sam threw with a big Kata Guruma to take him into the final. In a repeat final of 2016, Sam found himself against a Bulgarian Judoka who had also moved up into -83kg. After a dynamic exchange between the two rivals, Sam was unfortunately caught by a Kata Guruma himself this time and had to settle for the silver medal.
Up next was Oli Relton in the men’s -79kg category. Starting his competition day Oli countered his first opponent with a Tani Otoshi to score a wazari before transitioning into a Kata Gatame, holding his opponent down for 25 seconds to score his second wazari and claim the win. Next, Oli continued his transitional judo by pulling off a huge Ippon Seoi Nage, quickly transitioning into a Juji Gatame to submit his opponent. For the Semi-final Oli decided to mix things up, this time utilising a Hane Goshi to score ippon and proceed to the final. In the final, Oli was face to face with a Greek Judoka who had also been on fine form throughout the day, however, unfazed by his opponents track record, Oli went back to his Ne-Waza to score ippon with a powerful Juji Gatame and claim the gold medal.
Up next was 2015 WJF European Champion Ross Elliot who was looking to re-claim his European title in the -99kg category. Up first for Ross was a Greek Judoka. In the early exchanges of the fight Ross scored a wazari using a Hiza Guruma, quickly transitioning into a Mune Gatame to hold his opponent down and claim the win. Next for Ross was yet another home Judoka. Ross followed the same pattern, using a Maki Komi to score wazari, transitioning into a Kesa Gatame and holding his opponent down to claim his second win. In the final, Ross found himself against a Turkish Judoka. In the early exchange, the Turkish fighter stumbled Ross with a Maki Komi attempt however Ross’ reactions were firing fast as he quickly utilised his Ne-Waza to first attempt an Eri Jime before transitioning into a Mune Gatame, eventually holding his opponent down to claim the gold.
Next to represent JFAUK was 2013 WJF Junior European Bronze Medalist Alexis Bardini in the men’s -75kg category. For his first fight Alexis used a quick Uchi Mata to Ouchi Gari combination to score ippon and get his day off to a good start. Next, Alexis found himself against a much taller opponent, forcing him to think carefully on how to claim his second win. Alexis utilised a similar strategy, using an Uchi Mata before changing direction and dropping into a Ko Uchi Gake to score the ippon. For his semi final match, Alexis found himself against an experienced Dan grade however was unfazed and managed to score an ippon with a Osoto Gake in the early seconds of the fight to progress to the final. In the final Alexis was certainly pushed to his limits in an extremely hard fought fight. After an extremely dynamic battle, Alexis eventually sunk in an Eri Jime to secure his WJF European gold medal.
Sam Charalambous was also set to compete in the men’s -75kg category but unfortunately had to withdraw before the competition due to an injured shoulder. However, Sam had a pivotal role in helping to warm up his team mates, get them ready and ensure they always had water and tape to hand.
An additional category, which was created in the spirit of judo, was also held in which Karl Summerbell who had just claimed gold in the Para athlete category was able to fight against able bodied Judoka. Once again defying all odds, Karl succeeded in achieving a silver medal to add to his collection.
Further to this category, a mixed nation team event was also initiated. This event was inspired by our Greek host’s visits to Japan, whereby at international events, mixed team competitions are often created out of Judoka from different countries to encourage integration between the Judoka from different nations. 4 teams were created and in team 1 were JFAUK Judoka Sam Sampson and Ross Elliot and in team 2 was Alexis Bardini and Oli Relton. In the end, it was team 1 who managed to top the podium, giving Sam Sampson and Ross Elliot a gold medal and trophy, and team 2 coming close in second place giving Alexis Bardini and Oli Relton a silver medal.
Overall a remarkably successful trip for JFAUK who’s strength at this tournament has certainly been growing each time we attend. We would like to thank our Judoka who have worked tirelessly throughout the year to represent us at this tournament and it is clear that their hard work has paid off. Once again we would like to thank Samuel Betu who travelled with the team to work as part of the referee committee alongside the Greek and Italian referees. Another thank you goes to JFAUK President Sampson Sampson who helped to lead the team to the event and their corresponding victories. Further to running an international training session alongside Alfredo Vismara (9th Dan) on Friday evening, Sampson spent the duration of the event assisting with refereeing as well as attending meetings with the WJF Committee to discuss the future and further progress of the WJF in the coming years. With many plans in mind, we are certainly excited to be part of this journey.
With a growing number of entries and a number of new countries entering this years championships, the WJF European Championships is certainly an event that will continue to grow and expand in the years to come.
The WJF European Championships is a European wide tournament established by the World Judo Federation. The event differs from the judo seen on TV as it allows a number of ‘traditional techniques’ that have been removed from mainstream judo (such as leg grabs and big lifts) as well as placing a large emphasis on groundwork judo. The championships, as well as all events led by the WJF aim to re-ignite traditional judo and the many techniques that have been left behind in the modern era.
The WJF European Championships are now over, and we look to 2020 for the next.