Terry Watt, hailing from Northern Ireland and now at the age of 72 has recently completed his 50th appearance in the North West Open held annually and now firmly based in Londonderry in the Foyle Arena Sports Facility.
It actually took him 52 years to reach the total as he opted to go and fight in Berlin twice during that entire period.
Watt fondly recalls each competition when asked: “In my early days at judo our coach insisted that we compete at every opportunity.”
“This ‘habit’ became normal for me and therefore when the annual North West Championships started, I just kept going. At some point in time, maybe about my 30th entry I vaguely remember thinking I must just reach 50 entries before I finish – and it is simple as that.
“Now I have to stop myself fighting for the 51st time later in November. However, it doesn’t mean that I intend to retire any time soon!”
Michael Friel and Terry established the annual event in 1967 and it has always been very popular. For many years he won titles but in recent years he claims that just getting on the mat is his ‘victory’ . In one of his last fights he was throw in about 20 seconds via Uchi-mata, his own favourite throw.
His excuse was “It was so fast that I didn’t see it coming! – and he was half my age!”
Terry is the Northern Ireland representative on the BJA Masters Commission and just staying with Northern Ireland news Joyce Malley (Dungannon) has now become a member of the European Judo Veterans Commission.
Next stop for both players will be the Europeans in Las Palmas in July, the Commonwealth Championships in the University of Walsall in September and then onto the Worlds in Marrakech in October!