The GB Judo Special Needs team had a weekend to remember at the 2017 ID World Championships in Cologne, Germany from 21 – 22 October winning seven medals, including five golds.
In the inaugural World Championships of its kind over 300 judoka from across the globe entered, with an eight strong GB team looking to add world medals to their collection.
Day One (Saturday 21) saw three of the team in Nikki McDermott (L2 -52kg), Skye Westwood (L2 -57kg) and Shaun Banks (L2 -73kg) take to the mat in Cologne.
South Shields Judo Club’s McDermott started off the medal success for GB Judo with gold as he proved too strong for her opponents, winning both contests by ippon with plenty of time to spare.
She was joined in the medals that day by Skye Westwood (Renrukan) who also took home gold. Like McDermott she was in inspired form as she won all four of her contest by ippon including a 26 second victory over Lara Holzmuller (GER).
At L2 -73kg Banks (Stokenchurch) put in a determined performance but missed out on the medals, finishing seventh.
Day Two (Sunday 22) brought even more success with five medals in total including a trio of GB gold medallists.
At L1 -66kg Thomas Mawdsley (The Mill) showed great determination to take home gold. The British judoka came second in his pool, losing a close fight to Remi Chlea of France.
This set-up a semi-final with GB teammate Joshua Hemsley (Stokenchurch) who had topped his pool with two ippon wins. It was Mawdsley who came out on top though leaving Hemsley to pick up bronze. The Mill Judo Club judoka followed up his semi-final win with another strong performance in the final to defeat Germany’s Patrick Barendonk.
Chris Murphy (Shettleson) has been one of the standout performers for the GB Judo SN team for the last few years and he added a deserved L1 -81kg world title to his collection in Cologne.
After topping his pool with three wins by ippon he saw off the challenges of Christian Brieler (GER) and Ifeanyi Oguejiofor (FRA) to end the day at the top of the medal rostrum.
The fifth and final GB gold of the weekend went to Mikey Lomas at L1 -100kg. The Miramar Judo Club heavyweight is another consistent performer for the SN team and he showed why in Cologne with ippon wins over his Dutch and German opponents.
Kyle Jones (Pontarddulais) just missed out on gold at L1 -60kg, finishing with silver after home judoka Andreas Gramsch won the deciding contest by ippon.
Jo Imrie, GB Judo SN Coach, was immensely proud of her team’s efforts:
“The team has been a credit to Great Britain and their families. Their behaviour and the way they have conducted themselves on and off the mat has been truly professional.
“I hope that these judoka will inspire more players who have an intellectual disability to participate in future events.
“As the GB SN coach I have had the pleasure of coaching this amazing team, but the hard work and commitment comes from the players, their personal coaches and their families.”
Speaking afterwards Kerry Tansey, British Judo Development & Lead Disability Officer, said:
“This is the 1st recognised IJF Competion for judoka with Intellectual Disability. 13 countries from around the world came with their athletes to participate and claim the titles.
“British referee Ron Cleere was invited to referee at this prestigious event and he shared his valuable knowledge and experience with the IJF referees also in attendance. His advice and guidance was highlighted and sought after in upskilling the other referees to a greater understanding of this level of athletes. Andres Lippeck from the IJF commended Ron on his ability to referee with compassion, understanding and dignity at this high level of competition.
“Jo Imrie, GB SN Coach offered great support and coaching advice to the athletes prior to their competition, passing on her valuable knowledge gained with her involvement with SN judo in Scotland.
“Parents and coaches created a tremendous atmosphere and support for all involved.”