On Saturday 23 February, the Judo team travelled to High Wycombe to participate in the 2019 Independent Schools’ Judo Tournament. Our team of eight students arrived in eager spirits and did exceptionally well to end the day in second place in the medal tally.
Despite a lack of recent contest activity, and possibly fuelled by our opposition’s cancellation of the last inter-school match, the team handled their contests well – making few mistakes – and managed to progress through to the medals against experienced opposition. The team of eight produced six medals between them.
In the morning session we started strongly with 3 entries in the intermediate group (U16 years). Tan Lam performed well in the U60kg category, especially as he has only recently returned to Judo training. He fought consistently to reach the final where he was only beaten by a very good opponent. This final offered an excellent display of Judo.
Following this Joachim Sciamma gained some impressive wins in his first tournament and achieved a bronze medal in the U66kg category. In the lead up to half-term, Soufiane Noubir had prepared well to compete in U73kg although unfortunately on the day he just missed the target weight. The leap to 81kg proved to be too difficult to cope with, so he could not progress to the medal fights. Both Joachim and Soufiane can look forward to next year when they remain in the same age-band.
In the afternoon session we had 5 entries in the senior group, the O16 category, with everyone managing their weight control very accurately. Some of the particularly fierce Senior competitions involved matches between St Paul’s students. Vito Balboa performed well to beat Oscar O’Brien but didn’t quite have enough strength left to cope with the eventual winner, a very active player in Championship Judo.
Another senior member, Raphael Gournay (O16yrs/ U66Kg), lost to fellow Pauline, Roman Evans, in the match for the Bronze. Knowing one another made these matches particularly tiring. Milun Haggipavlou had a good tournament also matching U66kg opposition and gained the Gold medal in his category.