British Judo is sad to announce the passing of Keith Remfry at the age of 67 after a series of long illnesses.
Keith won an Olympic silver medal in the Open Class at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and was a member of the last British men’s team to win the European team title in 1971 in Gothenburg. He also was twice a bronze medallist at the World Championships in 1971 at Ludwigshafen and in 1973 in Lausanne. It was at the 1971 Championships where Keith threw the reigning All-Japan Champion Kaneo Iwatsuri for ippon. Iwatsuri never represented Japan again.
Perhaps Keith’s most famous moment was in the 1974 European Team Championships final at Crystal Palace when he threw the Soviet Union’s Sergei Novikov. The extract below from John Goodbody working for The Times described this contest in great detail:
“It was now Remfry against Novikov. In this clash of the Titans the 18 stone Briton at last showed all the persistence and penetration that he suddenly seems to acquire when he is not expected to win. Conceding a waza-ari, Remfry’s only chance of drawing the team level was to score an ippon. He pursued the gigantic Russian, trying throw after throw, varying feints with combinations, changing grips with remorseless energy. And the Russian met him and opposed his every move. This was the sport at its most stupendous—a collision of sheer physical power that seemed to reverberate round the huge hall. The time ebbed away. One minute to go. 30 seconds. 15 seconds and still Remfry was on the move like a great tank trying to crush an invader. Five seconds to go. Still Remfry attacked. The buzzer sounded. Novikov possibly relaxed and Remfry a big osoto-gari in motion mowed down Novikov on to his back. The referee consulted the judges, signalled an ippon,”
A minute’s silence was held at The Budokwai during practice on Tuesday evening in respect of one of it’s long-time members.
The funeral will take place on Friday, 25th September at 11.30 a.m. at St.Peter’s Church, Bushey Heath, WD 23 IEA. All are welcome but Keith’s family have requested that individuals confirm their attendance in advance by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org Keith’s family have also asked that flowers should only be provided by the family.
Our thoughts are with his friends and family during this time.