Easter delight at Special Needs tournament in Holland

The European Open Special Needs Tournament and the Beverwijk Open G-Judo Tournament both took place over the Easter weekend at the Sporthal de Walvis (“The Whale Sportshall”) in Holland.

Both events were attended by a range of players from clubs all over the United Kingdom and across the events, with five levels of ability.

On Friday 18 April there was a training session in the afternoon, led by Dutch judoka Marvin de la Croes, Sanneke Vermeulen and Claudia Zwiers.

Saturday 19 April was the European Open Special Needs event for senior judoka at levels one and two and in the afternoon, there was a kata competition.

Senior Christopher Murphy, 19, took gold for Pro Judo Scotland in the -81kg category. Murphy (Pro Judo Club) appears to be going from strength to strength with another gold medal winning performance following five successful fights. This was ideal preparation for the Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles in 2015 which he has been selected to compete in along with Nicole James.

Richard Cooke (Edinburgh Judo Club) took gold and fought at -90kg. He was lightest in his pool and he had three fights all against Dutch opponents two of whom he has met before and won all by ippon, the first fight two waza-ari’s and the second fight against Jasper Holtackers was a hold down. The third fight against Etienne Wolters involved an ippon throw, giving him ten points towards his second dan.

There was also a brilliant performance by Tom Mawdsley and continuing team GB’s dominance in the senior males category at this event.

Cameron Black (SJCA) was entered at -66kg but weighed in at 68kg, and this meant he was in a heavier pool. He fought very well finding it hard to give away weight to his opponents and was unable to escape from two hold downs. His fights were close, especially his second when leading with one waza-ari and one yuko, he was unlucky to be thrown for ippon in the closing seconds and came fourth.

​On​ ​Sunday 20 April the Beverwijk Open G-Judo Tournament was held(for seniors levels 3,4 and 5 and for juniors of all levels). It was the 16th year of this competition, an event widely attended by judoka from Britain since 2006.

Junior judoka Nicole James, 14, took gold for Jidel Judo 93 in Scotland. James was placed in a group of five, winning three matches by ippon and one by waza-ari to take the gold medal.

Philip ​Brodie, 13, also took gold for Jidel Judo 93 Scotland. Brodie was placed in a group of five and he took gold, when the last contest came to a head to head with Skye Westwood who settled for silver.

​Greg Morrison (Aberdeen JC)​ in his last year as a junior showed his growing confidence easily winning two fights and was leading in the third when he got caught for ippon. He took a well deserved silver., as did Craig Edwards of Wisp, Wales.

Rebecca McCready, 17, and Rebecca Crossan, 20, both from Kyu Shin Kwai Scotland rounded off the medal haul with a bronze medal a-piece.

Three players from Stoken Church took part in the event, Patricia Hepworth (14) seized silver and Sean McKeller (46) and Shaun Banks (26) both bounced to bronze.

Several coaches accompanied the various athletes and senior GB Special Needs coaches Jo Imrie said she was delighted with way that the whole squad had applied themselves at this event.

“There were some outstanding individual performances, but all the players appeared to be progressing in the right direction.

“This is due to the hard work and support of the players personal coaches back home at their individual judo clubs.”

Remember there’s only two days left to apply for an event taking place in Ravenna. This closes on 30 April. Register your interest for this with Ken Thorne:

All results of future competitions should be sent in to, ideally two days after the event to ensure a timely report.

Photos by Bob Lefevere Sylverback Imagery/