European Success for Judo’s next generation of Olympians

Three bronze medals for GB in the European Championships for Cadets in Tallinn, Estonia at the weekend showed that the future generation of Olympians are climbing up the performance pathway.

That is the view of England Programme Manager Matt Divall who took a team of 17 judoka as part of the GB Squad made up of English and Scottish Cadets to Tallinn at the weekend.

Only the best in Europe are invited to the tournament, which took place over three days from last Friday to Sunday.

The first day of the tournament saw GB clinch two medals. Peter Miles (-55kg) gained bronze in Tallinn against French opponent Fabian Biagioli in the battle for bronze. Miles recently won the EJU European Cup for U21s in Kaunas and has two bronze wins this year from Teplice and Coimbra Cups.

Neil MacDonald took the second bronze fighting against Russian Alexandr Kulikovskih for the -60kg category.

U57kg Jodie Caller collected the third British bronze medal at this tournament so far after her thriller victory against Sarah Harachi (FRA) beating her by waza-ari. John Jayne finished fifth.

“It was a really good event and it was good to take the individual teams over as a GB squad. There was a really good team dynamic and the medals we won on the first day
set the tone for the rest of the tournament,” said Matt.

“We had some outstanding performances.Al of teams’ performance is a realisation that they can match their own with thw best in Europe. The kids have really upped their game and results prove we are heading in the right direction as we move forward, although it is still early stages.

This marks the start of the potential to go forward in the future.”

Some of the team which went out to the European’s last weekend will go on to the Youth Olympics in three weeks time. Some will go on to the Cadet Championships in Miami in August.

Words by Donna Richardson.
Photo by Geoff Ham