London Open 2014

Two members of CUJC fought at the weekend in the London Open. As is to be expected at a national ranking tournament, the standard of judo was high with many British squad members competing. Cambridge performances were fantastic with both players digging deep to make it through a total of 14 fights between them and take well deserved medals.

First up was Giovanny in the senior men’s -66kg. This was an especially tough category featuring several players ranked in the top 10 nationally. A strong start saw Giovanny convincingly win his opening contest early on by a hold for ippon. This unfortunately put him into a second round contest against the eventual gold medallist. After a difficult fight which looked as though it could have gone either way Giovanny was caught in an osaekomi which he was unable to escape from. Undeterred, Giovanny stormed through the repecharge winning two fights comfortably to put him into a bronze medal match against Camberley full time athlete and current -60kg GB no. 6 James Martin. Knowing that he had a hard task ahead of him to earn a spot on the podium, Giovanny put pressure on his opponent from the very first hajime and managed to catch him with a magnificent seoi-nage for ippon in the opening 90 seconds, thus taking CUJC’s first medal of the day.

Also fighting in the men’s seniors and giving away 5 kilos in his debut at -90kg, Lawrence found himself in a category with 21 other competitors making it one of the largest of the tournament. Working hard to make it through his first 3 contests which all lasted the full 5 minutes, Lawrence used kata-guruma, seoi-nage and koshi-guruma to overcome his opponents and put him into a semi-final contest against British senior squad member Sam Potts. For the first 3 minutes of the fight the pair looked fairly evenly matched and with just 90 seconds of the contest left all that was on the scoreboard was one shido for each player. Unfortunately Potts got the upper hand in the next gripping exchange and managed to catch Lawrence with a well-executed harai-goshi for ippon and then went on to take gold comfortably. This semi-final loss put Lawrence straight into a bronze medal contest against a very strong player who had been using huge ura-nage counters all day to great effect. Knowing that any weak attacks would be severely punished, Lawrence fought the grips tactically and managed to catch his opponent with a tai-otoshi for ippon after just 30 seconds to take the bronze medal.

Not content with just the one medal, Giovanny only had about an hour to catch his breath before beginning his fights in the -66kg masters category. The pool stage presented very few problems with rapid drop seoi-nages easily dispatching Giovanny’s first two opponents for ippon. The final contest in the pool was against a highly skilful VI player who Giovanny was able to beat through excellent tactical use of the new rules. After the full 5 minutes and 3 shidos to his opponent, Giovanny had taken his third victory which put him into the semi-final against two-time European masters champion and 2008 world masters bronze medallist Winfield Graham of Moberly. This was always going to be a tough contest to win and sadly Giovanny was thrown with a lightning-fast drop morote seoi-nage in the first 10 seconds of the contest. This automatically gave Giovanny his second bronze medal of the day.

Overall a great day for CUJC with 3 medals, valuable national ranking points and a total of 11 wins and 3 losses.

Lawrence Rowles