Eight Bridgeview Judo Club youngsters fought to the cheers of a lively crowd at the Masters’ Christmas Open Competition, and for four of them this was a first-time experience they will never forget.
The outstanding player of the day was Olivia Akehurst, who attacked all of her opponents non-stop with a variety of techniques and combinations, and won all of her fights with ippons (maximum scores).
She secured the Club’s first gold medal at this venue. Also demonstrating excellent competitive judo was Eleanor Kearley, who was overwhelmed in her final bout by a bigger, older opponent but dealt with the rest of her group confidently to win another silver medal to add to her collection. Jocelyn Kearley, her little sister, put in a great effort as the youngest competitor in the mini-mons category, and proudly claimed a well-earned bronze medal. Five other Bridgeview players also came home with bronze medals and some Christmas chocolates.
Young Max Butler-Cole was somewhat overwhelmed by the occasion, yet showed plenty of spirit and came off smiling after every fight. Juno Butler-Cole had some really good contests in her first ever competition, going the full distance in some bouts and even gaining a score against the eventual gold medallist. She earned the Spirit of Judo trophy as a result.
Zoe Lesage used her techniques well, remained positive throughout her fights and kept safe with some perfect ukemi (break-falls) to the delight of the coaching team. Sophia Lesage had to deal with very experienced players in her group and found the going tough. She demonstrated staying power, however, especially in her opening bouts and came home much wiser for the experience. Joseph Jauncey-Moore was also among the bigger, older players and struggled to get his techniques to work. He remained undaunted, however, and persisted throughout in attempting high quality judo.
He deservedly finished his day with a suberb ippon throw as just reward for his efforts.
So with one gold, one silver and six bronze medals plus one Spirit of Judo award the Bridgeview team feel that Christmas has come early this year.