Four Olympians competing at National Teams Championships

Former Olympians Craig Fallon, Euan Burton and Chris Sherrington plus Paralympian Sam Ingram are set to fight in the National Team Championships at Walsall today.

Fallon, a former World Champion and 2008 Olympian is fighting for the Midlands senior men in front of a home crowd at the new West Midlands venue. The event sees a number of teams from each of the British Judo Association areas going head to head to score points to become one of the top four teams. Fallon retired from international judo a month before the London 2012 Games, but still competes in home competitions.

“I’m glad to be here,” said Fallon. “When you fight at home it is more relaxing because the pressure is off. It is always good to fight in front of a home crowd as you get so used to fighting in international tournaments. When an opportunity arose to fight in the National Teams I decided to go for it because team events are always fun.”

No 1 Judoka for Scotland Euan Burton, London 2012 Olympian and Sam Ingram, the London 2012 Paralympic silver medallist and 2008 Beijing bronze medallist were both selected for the -90kg category. Last year’s defending champions Scotland took three golds. Can they make it two years in a row? Euan was also at the event in the capacity of a Judo Scotland coach.

Meanwhile Royal Marine Chris Sherrington +100kg, who also fought in the 2012 Olympics, will is hoping to boost points for the Combined Services.

Heavyweight Chris said: “Today, as always there are some surprise people here, and that keeps you on your toes. There are quite a few people who have not fought for a number of years, so you don’t know who you will be facing. It is good to have a variety here and to perform as part of a team. Fingers crossed that the British Combined Forces does well in the event.”

As well as those fighting in the event, other former Olympians were cheering on competitors from the sidelines. Nick Kokotaylo, who fought in the 1984 Olympics in LA (fifth) was spotted in the crowd. Also present at the event were Billy Cusack (Barcelona), David Somerville (Sydney), Joyce Heron (Atlanta) and Dennis Stewart (Seoul Olympic Bronze) and the BJA Chairman Kerrith Brown (Los Angeles Olympic Bronze)

Words by Donna Richardson.