This weekend the British Judo Paralympic VI team and the Para Potential group competed at the VI German Open winning seven medals.
Cameron Bradley (-81kg) was the standout performer in the junior category, winning gold and was crowned Junior tactician of the day.
Emily Betts, at just 15 years of age, competing in the combined -63/70kg, proved that she has what it takes to mix it with the best. She won her three contests all with ippon, to claim the gold medal ahead of teammate Caitlin Leigh who won silver. Leigh fought well in the junior event, finishing one contest with a superb piece of Ne-waza. She unfortunately had to pull out of the senior event with a minor shoulder injury but definitely a name for the future.
Jimmy Alderson (-81kg) claimed silver, behind Bradley, while Evie Gormley, competing in the combined -48/52kg, won bronze.
In the senior event Chris Skelley (-100kg) lived up to his World number 1 ranking as he won gold, defeating Paralympic legend Tenario (BRA) with a superb piece of Ne-waza. He also defeated 2016 Paralympian Ben Goodrich (USA) with two great pieces of tachiwaza after defeating Pominov (UKR) with kosoto gake in what was one of the biggest throws of the day.
Jack Hodgson (+100kg) took a well-earned silver medal in his first competition since the Tashkent Grand Prix in September, losing the final to 2016 Paralympic silver medal Araujo (BRA) in a closely fought contest. On his journey to silver, Hodgson also defeated Paralympian Tastan (TUR) with a wonderful piece of ashi waza.
Elliot Stewart (-90kg) had 5 contests, only losing to world number 1 Nazarenko (UKR) and world number 3 Latchoumanaya (FRA). It was a good run out for the current world number 5 Stewart, who finished the competition with bronze.
Evan Molloy, Alderson and Bradley all competed in the SNR -81kg, with Bradley fighting his way through to the bronze medal match against experienced Paralympian Arruda (BRA). Although he narrowly missed out this time, the young Brit gave everything he had and gave a great account of himself in the senior ranks.
In the women’s section Gormley (-48kg) fought valiantly, only losing out to double Paralympic champion Martinet (FRA).
Following her gold in the junior event, Betts was not fazed by her senior opponents in the -70kg category, as she fought against the 2018 World Champion Martins (BRA). She gave everything in the senior event and was defeated in the bronze medal match by teammate, 2016 Paralympian, Natalie Greenhough.
In the +70kg Kirsten Taylor showed great promise in her first fight defeating her TUR opponent with a nice O-Soto for ippon. The proud Scot then took the fight to her final 3 opponents, finishing the day on the podium with a bronze medal.
Speaking after the event, British Judo Paralympic Head Coach, Ian Johns, said: “All in all it has been a great experience for the members of the GB Para potential team that have travelled with the current VI team. They have all conducted themselves fantastically and they can all be proud of their performances this weekend. This was the first outing for some of our current VI squad that are attempting to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games in August. This has been a great way to start the year with lots of lessons learnt.”
Next up for some members of the team is the Georgian Open in Tbilisi.