Tensions were high on the morning of 15 February as 13 members of the Judo team set off on the long bus journey to Sheffield, to compete for our university in the BUCS national championships, due to a combination of anticipation for fighting, and hunger (as many had been cutting weight to make their weight categories for competing the next day). Ultimately though, the team were extremely excited to get cracking for what promised to be a thrilling day of competition and put all their hard work into action.
11 competitors and two members of the coaching team made the lengthy journey, and although it was extremely close, everyone made their weight categories, ensuring that all their efforts were not in vain. Special mention must be made for one member who had to cut their hair to make it – such dedication! Saturday saw our Judoka fight in what were especially competitive individual competitions.
A number of our fighters had some 30 people in their categories, many of whom were from universities that support full-time Judo athletes and receive more support than we do. Unfortunately, the sport still remains something of a minor venture in this hallowed institution. Despite this, our team put up an amazing performance – with several spectacular throws, holds, armlocks and strangles throughout the weekend as a whole ensuring that the mammoth trek down to south Yorkshire wasn’t worthless and all the team can be proud of at least part of their weekend, making their efforts over the whole year more than worthwhile.
A huge congratulations goes to our medal winners: Emilie Bone (winning gold in the women’s under 63kg category), Florence Sharp (winning bronze in the women’s under 63kg category) and Francis Millward (winning gold in the men’s under 60kg category). This was our best individual results in the past few years at BUCS, and we, as a club, are exceptionally proud of everyone who competed regardless of whether or not they were successful in their matchups over the weekend.
Sunday featured the team events (three in a women’s team, and five in a men’s team). Our women’s team put up a valiant show but were up against some formidable teams from universities with full-time Judo athletes. This ensured that for all their hard work on the day and in training it wasn’t quite to be for them. Our men’s team, despite only having four out of the five fighters, putting them at an obvious disadvantage, made it to fifth place, losing out on the bronze medal because we were a man down and unfortunately had a walkover.
The weekend as a whole though was a complete whirlwind, involving a lot of blood, sweat, and a few tears. Each and every one on the team gave the weekend their all, and we could not be more proud of their efforts. We plan to hit BUCS even harder next year, so watch this space. As always, if you are keen to learn more about the club and its ethos, whether you are a seasoned judo performer or a complete newcomer to the sport wanting to get involved, please do not hesitate to get in contact to learn more!