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From back left: Alec, Rob, Madeline, Megan, Lawrence, Andrew, Nick,
Jesse, Liang, Josh
Eight players completed in the BUCS Judo championships this weekend. In the Kyu grade category, Liang Wu won his first fight on the ground with a strangle, in his next fight a drop Seoi-Nage followed up with a pin secured his place in the knock-out stages. His drop Seoi-Nage returned this time scoring an ippon in his first knock out stage. Good transition from a Sumi-Gaeshi into a pin moved him further up and within sight of the medals. He was then countered by a Tani-Otoshi and so found himself fighting for bronze against his “rabbit”. The pressure was on as Liang had faced this opponent several times before, but luckily he brought out another pin and so claimed bronze.
Andrew Tam felt like he needed a warm-up fight and so went on the mat when it wasn’t his turn. Now that his drop Seoi-Nage was ready, Andrew won his first actual fight in his usual manner. His second fight was won by two waza-aris through counters, which got him out of the pool. Surprise surprise, he won his next fight by drop Seoi-Nage. He was then knocked into the repechage by the eventual silver-medallist. Fighting to stay in, Andrew pulled off yet another ippon win by drop Seoi-Nage. He was then in the bronze medal fight but got caught by an Ippon-Seoi-Nage and so came a very respectable fifth.
Rob Blackburn came out top of his pool with ease, pinning his first opponent and then wasting no time to score an ippon with his left-handed Ippon-Seoi-Nage. In the knock out stages, Rob won his first fight with a well-executed Ippon-Seoi-Nage. He then put up a good fight but was beaten by the eventual gold medallist. In the repechage Rob pulled out yet another left-handed Seoi-Nage, which meant he was then fighting for the bronze medal. Despite putting in a great fight he lost the bronze medal fight, but it was a close thing.
Despite being one of the lowest grades in her group, Madeline Ang came out top of her pool. In her first fight, she too was converted to drop Seoi-Nage and won by ippon. Her second fight went the distance, but Madeline managed to hold onto her yuko score. In the third fight it was back to the new drop Seoi-Nage which scored a waza-ari. Then in the knock stages, Madeline faced a much more experienced opponent who threw her for ippon. This meant Madeline won bronze, however, which is a great achievement for her first time at BUCS.
In the Dan grade category, Men’s Captain Jesse Olszynko-Gryn fought well in a very high quality group. In his first fight in his pool, Jesse held on until the last minute but then got thrown by an O-Soto-Gari and was held down. In his next fight, Jesse dominated and pulled off a lovely left handed Uchi-Mata, which meant he was through to the knock-out stages. Jesse then lost to the eventual silver medallist. Fighting in the repechage, it looked like Jesse was going to win after scoring two yukos – the first from his Kata-Guruma, the second from a pin that his opponent managed to escape from. Unluckily with 30 seconds to go, Jesse was countered for a waza-ari and so was knocked out.
Josh Hunt faced tough competition being a 1st Kyu in a Dan grade group, but he made it out of his pool. His first fight went to full time as the two players were well matched, in the end Josh won on penalties. His second fight against a 1st Dan went back and forth, with Josh first scoring a waza-ari with a drop Seoi-Nage but then his opponent scored a last minute waza-ari. In the end, it came down to a yuko, which Josh scored with a combination into a leg grab. Then in his first knock-out fight, Josh fought well but was unfortunately countered. For his first time at BUCS Josh fought extremely well and demonstrated a high level of groundwork that none of his opponents could get past.
Lawrence Rowles faced very tough competition in his group. His first fight ended quickly as his opponent went for an illegal leg-grab and so was disqualified. He then faced a very experienced player who managed to throw Lawrence with an Uchi-Mata. Through to the knock outs, the next fight went to full time and despite many close calls the fight eventually came down to penalties, and so Lawrence was knocked out by the eventual bronze medallist.
President, Megan Sørensen, quickly won her first fight with a pin. In her second fight against a 2nd Dan Megan, and everyone, was shocked, when an experimental left-handed Uki-Goshi scored ippon and placed her top of her pool. In the knockout stages, Megan was caught by an Uchi-Mata from the eventual gold medallist, and so found herself fighting for the bronze medal. Following up on the earlier success, Megan managed a second left-handed Uki-Goshi to take the bronze medal.
The club also entered a Men’s and a Women’s team. The Men won their first match against Plymouth. This involved a very impressive fight from Josh that ended in a draw, a lovely Uchi-Mata from Liang, Rob unfortunately was caught by a foot sweep, and Lawrence secured the win with decisive ippon. Up against far heavier and more experienced teams of Edinburgh and Loughborough, Cambridge put up a good fight but lost and so didn’t make it through the pool. The women, also fighting with one player short of a full team, had some tough fights against Bath, Birmingham, and Warwick, but managed a decisive win over Nottingham with Megan scoring with O-Soto-Gari and Madeline with a Maki-Komi. So they too didn’t make it out of the pool.
With every player making it through to the knockout stages and three medals to take home, the weekend was a great success. The club is now in an excellent position to face Oxford in the Varsity match in two weeks’ time.
Megan Sørensen – President
See photos from the weekend in the Gallery.