The WJF European Championships are now over, and this prestigious event closes the 2015 chapter for JFAUK. The two day event included a masterclass lead by Alfredo Vismara (9th Dan), Giuseppe Vismara (9th Dan) and Sampson Sampson (8th Dan). The masters took turns running the session, imparting knowledge upon the students who were ready to soak up the wealth of experience presented to them on the Tatami. The masters managed to truly inspire all students with their extremely powerful and precise judo techniques that not only fully captured traditional judo and kyushindo but also demonstrated the effectiveness of judo, and how age is no obstacle in the world of martial arts. After the session the judoka rested overnight as the true test was yet to come.
On Sunday the 15th November the WJF European Championships were officially opened by WJF Vice President Paul Hoglund and the Itallian hosts. After a moments silence to respect those who had fallen in Paris, it was the turn of the young judoka to prove themselves on the tatami. The whole day was filled with traditional, upright and technical ippon judo. Within the tournament JFAUK had 6 competitors representing the country. Surrey Judoka Morgan Class Kirtley was up first in the junior -71kg category and put up a good fight against the experienced opposition but unfortunately did not manage to medal in his international debut. Next up was Scotland’s Jason Baird who was in the largest category, the men’s -75kg. Baird fought his way to the semi-final and was unluckily knocked into the repecharge. After a further three contests Baird managed to make his way into the bronze medal fight with excellent judo but was left empty handed after a gruelling contest against an Italian judoka. Worthing’s soon to be European Champion Ross Elliot took to the stage next in the men’s +100kg. Elliot managed to steamroll his way through the preliminaries and into the final whereby he held down a much heavier Greek opponent securing his title. It was then the turn of London born 2013 WJF European Champion Samuel Charalambous who would fight for the first time in the mens -71kg category since winning the junior title. Charalambous was unfortunately cut short of his title after hard contests against the older judoka, however still managed to rattle the other competitors proving extremely difficult to beat. London’s Lawrence Delanbanque made his international debut in the mens -87kg category next, fighting his way through to the semi-final before being knocked into the repecharge. Despite being the lightest in the category, Delanbanque pulled off some incredible shime-waza and secured his bronze medal. The final competitor of the day was Sampson Sampson Jnr In the men’s -79kg category. Sampson used counters and fast ne-waza to work his way into the semi final but was also knocked into the repecharge after losing to the eventual gold medallist. A medal was still in reach and he refused to go home empty handed, winning the repecharge to gain the final medal of the day.
A successful day for JFAUK who managed to gain 1 gold and 2 bronze medals in total. After the contest the Italian hosts took the team out for a social evening with some of the other competitors and the trip was ended with fantastic food, and a great social atmosphere.
This event concludes 2015 for JFAUK and look forward to an even bigger, an even better and an even more successful 2016. We have some exciting things to come. Keep your eyes posted.