Great Britain’s junior squad could only add another seventh place from Philip Awiti-Alcaraz (-100kg) as the individual competition at the 2013 Junior World Championships in Ljubljana came to a close.
Hopes of a medal were high for Awiti-Alcaraz and following a first round bye, the five-time Junior European Cup winner faced Maximilian Hageneder, strangling the Austrian for ippon.
The Enfield youngster then went on to beat Leon Strueber of Germany in a tough contest, gripping him in an arm-lock that resulted in the German tapping out for ippon.
This set up a quarter-final against Leehyun Kim. Awiti-Alcaraz lost to the Korean, who went on to take silver, holding down the Brit and claiming ippon.
He dropped into the repechage where he faced Aibek Serikbayev of Kazakhstan. Awiti led the contest by waza-ari, but as a place in the bronze medal contest was looking like a possibility, the Kazakh threw him for ippon, leaving the GB fighter to take seventh.
Meanwhile, Jodie Myers (+78kg) opened the day with an ippon after trailing the former Junior European Champion Aleksandra Babintceva of Russia by a yuko, to progress to the next round.
However, then Myers lost by two yukos to Ivana Sutalo of Croatia in the second round of the +78kg women’s category despite a strong performance throughout.
Commenting on the results, British Judo Performance Director said: “On the last day of competition, the opening rounds started off very positively with Myers defeating the 2012 Junior European Champion, but lost a decisive match to Sutalo for a place in the quarter final.
“There was a great weight of expectation on Philip Awiti who eased through the first two rounds to set up a quarter final contest against the impressive Kim of Korea. Philip dominated the early part of the contest and just couldn’t quite finish off Kim who managed to get off some spectacular throws. But as the contest progressed, Philip struggled and went a waza-ari down and eventually held down to send him into the repechage.
“For a Bronze medal contest, Philip had to get past Serikbayev of Kazakhstan and started off in great form going a waza-ari up in the opening exchanges, but it was clear that the contest was far from over as Serikbayev made some strong attacks that Philip had to fight hard to defend .
“In the what turned out to be the final exchange, they both came together to attack, in a frantic struggle where both players were looking to score – Philip came out second best as he was thrown for Ippon and had to settle for seventh place.”
“Overall, we finish the individual championships with a disappointing one fifth place and two seventh places. There are though, a lot of positives to take in that we defeated quite a few players who currently have Junior European medals or a higher pedigree than our players and this demonstrates that we are over performing in some areas. However this doesn’t mask the fact that we have failed to win a medal at these championships, which was the expectation given the quality we have in this team.”
“We cannot fault the players for their commitment and the hard work they have put in, in preparation for both the Junior European Championships and these World Championships, nor dismiss the performances on the whole through the year at Junior European Cup level where GB players have won more medals this year than any other year before. Additionally, on the whole this is a young team with many of these players only in their first year at U20 level, so experience gained here will be invaluable in the coming years to build upon.
“Overall, we have to be disappointed with the results at these Junior World Championships which further under-pins and re-enforces the need to re-organise and restructure the performance system to ensure that we develop players at Junior level who win medals at Junior World Championships and who go on to transfer into the Senior programme with a track record to build on for European, World and Olympic success.
“Moving forward, the restructure of the British Performance System and the newly built British Judo Centre of Excellence will be crucial and instrumental in developing players for consistent and sustainable success for British Judo at both Junior and Senior level for years to come.”
The action in Ljubljana continues tomorrow with the teams championship in which GB will be competing. Action starts at 09:00 GMT and will be live on ippon.tv.