The Sussex Junior Judo Team returned triumphant from the Inter counties in Hampshire this weekend with both the boys and girls team winning gold medals, the first time the junior teams have done the double since 2009.
The Inter counties is an annual team event which pits the best players from the counties of Sussex, Kent, Surrey and Hampshire against each other.
The girls started the day strongly beating Hampshire 9-2, before coming up against reigning champions Kent. This time the Sussex girls managed to turn the tables in dramatic fashion. With the score line at 5-5 it meant that the final match was the decider. Sussex’s Christi-Rose Pretorius kept her composure to win her bout convincingly, making it a 6-5 win overall to a delighted Sussex. In their final match Sussex girls asserted their authority, beating Surrey 9-2 and making sure of their well-deserved gold medal.
There was more drama in the boy’s category, with Sussex beating Hampshire but narrowly losing to Kent, meaning that their chances of taking home the gold medal looked slim. However, they were thrown a lifeline when Kent were marginally beaten by Surrey, meaning that the boys needed to beat reigning champions Surrey by at least 2 wins to take the title. On paper this looked like an impossible feat, but the Sussex team spirit inspired some fantastic performances and the boys came away 7-3 winners to take the gold medal by the narrowest of margins.
Sussex Junior Squad Coaches and ex British Champions Sophie Johnstone and Ben Urban, who took on the coaching positions in 2013 and work closely together along with Squad Manager Lisa Harrison, praised their team for their hard work and efforts.
Sophie said, “It was a real team effort. There were some amazing individual performances throughout the day, but they were inspired by each other and wanting to win for the team. It was special because both the boys and girls became champions together, the first time that has happened since 2009.”
Two years ago at this event both the boys and girls teams won bronze medals, so the gold medals today show just how far the squad has come
Ben said, “Two years ago at this event both the boys and girls teams won bronze medals, so the gold medals today show just how far the squad has come. We will keep building on this momentum to retain our titles on home soil next year.”
The Sussex men and women’s teams also competing at this event, both took silver medals.
Anyone wanting to find their local judo club can use the Club Finder on the British Judo Association website http://www.britishjudo.org.uk/find-a-club
Full team & Results:
Girls - GOLD
Win vs Hampshire 9-2
Win vs Kent 6-5
Win vs Surrey 9-2
-28kg: Abbie Brown
-32kg: Lily Kirby Reserve: Ellie Fowler
-36kg: Zoe Wright Reserve: Fallon Tibbs
-40kg: Kristina Pavlou Reserve: Katherine Burke
-44kg: Corlia Robertson
-48kg: Ellie Kearley
-52kg: Thea Griffey
-57kg: Pippa Jackson Reserve: Ellie Worrall
-63kg: Ellie Williams
-70kg: Anna Berry
+70kg: Christi-Rose Pretorius
Boys - GOLD
Loss vs Kent 5-6
Win vs Hampshire 9-2
Win vs Surrey 7-3
-30kg: Franz Nathan Cuisen Reserve: Marcus Rolfe
-34kg: Phoenix Williams Reserve: Ollie Gordon
-38kg: William Burke/Adam Funnell
-42kg: Ryan Elnaggiar/Matthew Cunningham
-46kg: Joe Beckett
-50kg: Lewis Weeks
-55kg: Zack Wake
-60kg: Andries Pretorius/Dallas Williams
-66kg: Oliver Nash
-73kg: Jack Thompson
+73kg: Jamie Holmes