Three Great British judoka scooped gold, silver and bronze over the weekend of Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July in the Sindelfingen European Cup for seniors in Germany.
Carlisle-born Michael Horley (-90kg) rushed to gold with five stunning victories on Sunday, a day which also happened to be his birthday! In his opening bout he scored an ippon win over Dylan Van Nuffel of Belgium before scoring waza-ari against Stefan Samba of the Netherlands.
He then secured ippons against Maciej Tworzydlo of Poland and Simon Glockner of Germany, before executing two excellent waza-aris to score an ippon victory in the final over Ihar Zhakau of Belarus. Commenting on his win, the 26-year-old said: “It felt awesome to win yesterday. My semi and final opponents were dangerous so it was such a relief to put them away when I did.
“It is nice when all the hard work pays off, especially on my birthday.”
The athlete trains out of the Kendal Judo Club, which often hosts the Great British Squad, deep in the heart of the Lake District. Here he trains under the watch of Mike Liptrot and Brian Moore, although his early judo career began at Carlisle Judo Club under Keith Smith.
On Saturday, Dagenham girl Hayley Willis (-48kg) swept to silver with two ippons, one against Mira Ulrich of Germany and the other against Barbara Jopek of Poland. She lost out on gold to Marta Rainero of Italy by ippon. It is her second silver in as many weeks, claiming the same result at last weekend’s European Cup.
She said: “I am very happy with my performance especially after fighting last weekend too. Although the final was disappointing it shows that things are coming together. The loss here has given me plenty to work on for future competitions.”
Commonwealth Champion Caroline Kinnane from High-Wycombe breezed to bronze in the -78kg final contest by beating three Germans. First of she defeated Rahel Krause with an ippon, but then lost by ippon against Annika Heise. She regained ground in the next contest, leading by a yuko before scoring another ippon against Marie Branser.
She said: “I am pleased with my steady performance to win bronze, but there’s more work to be done to win the all important gold.”
Aaron Turner (-66kg) also finished fifth for GB after winning by one waza-ari and two yukos against Mircea Remus Lazea of Romania and Jemima Yeats-Brown (-63kg) achieved a solid seventh. And Daniel Williams (-73kg), Andrew Panayi (-66kg) and Jodie Mullen (-63kg) all finished ninth.
Meanwhile, over in Wroclaw, Poland, during the European Cup for Juniors, over the same two days. Lucas Rowe (-60kg), Lucy Renshall (-63kg) and Jade Lewis (-57kg) finished fifth for Great Britain and Samuel Potts (-90kg) and Connor Ireland both secured a solid seventh place. There were also ninth place finishes for Matthew Kavanagh (-81kg), Kirsty Powell (-57kg) and Kelly Staddon (-57kg).
Words by Donna Richardson Photos by Falk Scherf EJU.