On Sunday 23rd November, Judo entered their first competition of the year, the London Area Universities and Schools Open held at the University of East London.
It was an early start, with weigh-in for female competitors at 8.00am. We arrived at the Docklands campus along with the competitors from sixty other institutions that had entered including several Scottish teams.
Katie Tomlinson was the first to fight in the 2nd Kyu and above, Senior Women u57kg category and challenged the eventual winner of the group. Sadly, she was very much outclassed and lost to an ippon in the first minute. This became a recurring pattern as Katie was swiftly dispatched in three fights and failed to make the semi finals. The rest of the team fared significantly better and it was a great opportunity to fight against some of the country’s best.
Next was John Pita, who fought in the under 3rd Kyu, Young Men u73kg category. Despite being forced to submit in his first fight, John fought courageously to make it into the semi-final group. Although beaten in this fight, John’s efforts were enough to secure him a bronze medal for Royal Holloway. Congratulations John.
Last of our team to fight was Mike Smith in the under 3rd Kyu, Senior Men u73kg category – what turned out to be the biggest category of the day. Mike confidently won his first two out of three fights before having to wait an hour until his fourth. Unfortunately he was beaten by an ippon and so, despite his earlier success, failed to make the semi finals.
Overall, Team Royal Holloway put in a stellar performance against a variety of other universities and schools, most of whom will also be attending BUCs. Congratulations to our medallist John and it’s onwards and upwards for Judo club!