Success at the BUCS competition for BJA England and GB players

British Judo athletes enjoyed success at the British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Judo Championships in Sheffield this weekend (22-23 February), with many 2014 squad members and England talent development athletes taking medals.

In the 1 Kyu and above, identical twins Thomas and William Johnson both took gold medals for their universities London School of Economics (LSE) and Oxford University respectively in the -66kg and -73kg classes.

Tom said: “It was different to most competitions as I am usually fighting for my club, but to fight and win for LSE which has given me such support felt amazing,

“I really enjoyed the university rivalry and it was fun as my brother William also took gold for Oxford.”

This was the first time that the twins had taken part in the competition and they are both now aiming to represent GB at the European University Championships in France in 2015.

Other individual wins included Andy Burns gaining gold for Edinburgh in the -90kg category, Shermane Henlon becoming -78kg champion, Matthew Kavanagh taking the -81kg gold for Anglia Ruskin.

Ebony Drysdale Daley (-70kg) and Jodie Myers (+78kg) both took gold for Wolverhampton, showing that training at the Centre of Excellence in Walsall is paying off.

The -52kg, -57kg, -63kg and +100kg categories were won by Natasha Stevens of Manchester, Tara Fitzjohn of Anglia Ruskin , Kerry Thompson of Strathclyde and Omar El Askalani of Salford.

Bath in particular had a Saturday to remember in the after bringing home eight medals in the individuals event and taking the overall silver in the team medal. Adam Conroy and Conor Murphy both won gold in their 1 Kyu and above weights, while Egyptian student Abdelrahman Fathalla and Chloe Roybs-Landricombe were victorious in the 2 Kyu and below. Natasha Maslen earned her university a silver while Bath also came away with bronze medals for Dominic Naylor, Robert Ashburner and Thomas Gadd.

The winner of the universities competition (men’s) was Herriot Watt who took gold for the very first time, silver went to Bath and bronzes to Anglia Ruskin and Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, Birmingham won the women’s universities competition; Strathclyde took silver and London and Glasgow took bronzes.

In the regionals, Scotland dominated with golds in the men’s and women’s competitions while London took silver.

 Andrew Wilesmith, Service and Education Manager for the British Judo Association said: “The BUCS Championships is a fantastic event that really highlights the quality of judo in our universities.

“Not only can you see some of the best players in the country but it’s a chance for those relatively new to to the sport to compete for their university.
“The chance to represent their university is a great one for many players.  
“This also continues to demonstrate the importance of judo in university sport and how big and popular it has become. This year especially has proved how popular it is and hopefully this will continue to positively impact on the rest of the university competition calendar.

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Words by Donna Richardson. Photos supplied by Anglia Ruskin.