Golden Day for England while Scottish Veteran Clark takes Swansong Commonwealth Games Title

It was another successful day at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games with the home nations winning another eight medals taking their overall total to 19.

Day two of the three day event, taking place at the SECC Precinct featured the middleweight -63kg and -70kg women’s, and the -73kg and -81kg men’s categories.

England led the way in the day’s medal tally, picking up six including three golds. Scotland won the remaining two including one gold.

It was an all-England final in the -81kg category where Owen Livesey triumphed over his team-mate to win the Commonwealth title. It was a closely fought battle and with no scores on the board, a single shido was all that separated them after five minutes. The road to the final saw Livesey beat Canadian opponent Jonah Burt in the semi-final, throwing him for ippon inside 30 seconds. He earlier beat John Muthee Kirimi after throwing the Kenyan for waza-ari and transitioning to a hold-down for ippon and Zambian Boas Munyonga, also by ippon. Reed started with an ippon win against Cameroon’s Eric Jean Omgba Fouba following it up with an ippon by strangle over Robert Nicola of Cyprus. The semi-final pitted him against Canadian Louis Krieber-Gagnon, reigning Cadet World Champion, but some excellent ground work saw Reed take ippon with an armlock.

On winning gold Livesey commented:  “I am very happy and will be celebrating winning a Commonwealth gold tonight. When I moved to Camberley the Olympics was the only thing I have wanted to do. Hopefully, now I have the confidence, I will do it. I will keep training hard and hopefully qualify.

“Normal events we don’t get much attention but fighting here is the most that I have had in my life. All my family are here, my mum, my dad, my sisters, all my coaches from S.KK. I’ve never fought anywhere with atmosphere like this. Now I have witnessed it with the crowd behind me it is just fantastic.”

There was an upset in the -70kg category where England’s Megan Fletcher beat Scotland’s world number five and competition favourite Sally Conway on her way to a gold medal. The pair had a titanic battle in the semi-final and it was Conway that took the early advantage with a yuko throw. The action was stopped for a short while as an injury to Fletcher was tended to, but soon after the restart, Fletcher fought back with a yuko of her own to level the score. The contest went to golden score and it was Conway who made an attack that looked like it was to be the winning score, but Fletcher brilliantly countered to turn the throw and make the score her own, booking her place in the final and sealing her first ever win against Conway. The final itself saw Fletcher beat Moira De Villiers of New Zealand, a six-time Oceanic Champion, on the ground, pinning her down in Osaekomi and winning by ippon. Conway went on to win bronze after beating Tashkent Grand Prix medallist Sunibala Huidrom of India on shidos.

Megan Fletcher said: “It feels absolutely amazing. Sally is the number one and I’ve been waiting to beat her for years. It is even more poignant to do this in front of my family and friends.Having wins like this gives me confidence to go forward. De Villiers is also ranked higher than me. I am happy as I was seeded number four and I came out on top.

“I saw my younger brother Ben after the final and it was a little bit emotional. It would have been nice for us to have come here as a family and been on the podium together.  

“Pinewood is my original club and Don Werner my coach died earlier this year, the final is for him. Hopefully he will be looking down and he will be proud. He produced many world medallists and I am happy I can carry on his legacy.” 

There was also an English success in the -73kg category with Danny Williams winning gold. Williams was a late replacement called up days before the games due to Ben Fletcher’s injury withdrawal faced a tough first contest against young Welshman Connor Ireland but overcame him by two yukos. He then came from a yuko behind against three-time Oceanic champion Arnie Dickens, winning with a waza-ari before beating another home country fighter Northern Ireland’s Eoin Fleming by ippon with an armlock. The final saw him face Kiwi Adrian Leat in a brutal contest, but the English judoka came out on top, scoring an early waza-ari and hanging on for the win. Scotland’s Patrick Dawson and Northern Ireland’s Eoin Fleming both lost out in their bronze medal contests claiming fifth place.

Danny Williams: “That was incredible. The medal at the end of the day was just a bonus. It has been a very, very hard six days. If you dont make weight you don’t fight. 

“The majority of the people here have been preparing for months and I had six days to prepare but I could have done it in a day if I had to.

“To do it in front of my family and friends is amazing, they are all here. The the crowd and the village is incredible all the volunteers are so helpful. I would like to say thank you to everyone in Shrewsbury and Camberley.”

The -63kg category belonged to three-time Olympian and former European Champion Sarah Clark won a gold medal in her final competitive tournament, in front of her home crowd. She was in lethal form beating India’s Garima Choudhary with a throw for ippon then showing her prowess on the ground, pinning Australia’s Katharina Haecker to book a place in the final. There she faced Helene Wezeu Dombeu of the Cameroon and again she took victory on the ground, forcing her opponent to submit with an armlock to the delight of the Scottish crowd. There was more success for home athletes in the category with Katie-Jemima Yeats-Brown and Faith Pitman, both winning bronze for England. Yeats-Brown, a British Judo Centre of Excellence athlete, was a very late addition to the squad being drafted as a replacement for Caroline Kinane one day before the opening ceremony. However, she bounced back from a defeat to the eventual silver medallist Haecker to hold down Beatrice Valois-Fortier of Canada to win the bronze. Pitman suffered a quarter-final defeat to the Canadian but beat Haecker with a waza-ari throw to win the medal.

Clark commented after her win: Sarah Clark: “There were moments when I went back after London that I wasn’t winning many competitions and they changed the rules. That really affected my judo but I think as I started to get fitter I decided I would make the step that I was going to compete at the Commonwealths. Today I couldn’t have felt better.

“It is a good atmosphere here for the Scottish and for people competing so it gives you a boost. My mam and dad are here and my kids, its giveback to them. It’s more for them than for me. I had double ankle surgery last year and then shoulder surgery. I cannot quite hit the highs I used to but I am pleased I did this today.

You will not see me competing again at this level, this was a perfect ending.”

The final day sees the heavyweights in action with contests getting underway from 10:00 BST.