Fryer records a career-best finish whilst GB adds another IJF referee to its ranks

Mike Fryer recorded a career-best finish at the Madrid European Open this weekend, taking bronze in an -66kg category that included former European Champion Walide Khyar (FRA) and European Junior Champion Maxime Gobert (FRA), whilst Graeme Maclachlan passed his IJF A referee assessment.

Drawn in Pool A, Fryer defeated local judoka Xerach Hernandez-Perez (ESP) in the opening round before victories over Jasleen Singh Saini (IND) and Azamat Zhexenbayev (KAZ) booked his place in the quarter-finals to face former European Junior and Senior Champion Khyar.

Defeat in the quarter-finals progressed Fryer to the Repechage where he defeated David-Ignacio Alvez-Duarte (ESP) to set up a bronze medal contest against former European Junior Championship bronze medallist Benjamin Gomis (FRA).

All of Fryer’s victories to this point had come by way of ippon score, and this did not change come to the bronze medal contest as victory secured Fryer’s first international medal at any age group, in what was a well-contested weight category.

The competition also acted as an International Referee (IJF A) award examination under the supervision of IJF Head Refereeing Director, Daniel Lascau. British Judo’s Graeme Maclachlan passed his assessment, meaning he has been promoted to an IJF A referee.

Graeme first started judo in 1983 and then picked up refereeing in 1989; he has now secured the highest level of referee award recognised by the International Judo Federation.

Bill Taggart, National Refereeing Commission chairman said: “I would like to congratulate Graeme on his recent success in Madrid, gaining his IJF A. This is a reward for all the hard work and dedication Graeme has shown to get there. He adds to a long list of recent promotions to this grade and I’m sure everyone will join me in congratulating him.”

Graeme, shortly after his promotion, said:I am very proud to represent both Great Britain and Scotland. This has been a dream for me for many years and I’m thankful to all my friends and colleagues who have encouraged and motivated me without each and every one of you I could not have come close to achieving this result.”

A fine ambassador for both British and Scottish judo, Graeme now looks forward to more success at the major championships that lie ahead.

British Judo would like to congratulate Graeme on this fantastic achievement.

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Elsewhere in Madrid, there was a 5th place finish for Neil MacDonald (-60kg) on the opening day, whilst on day two, in the +78kg category, Sarah Adlington finished 5th ahead of Sarah Hawkes in 7th.