The 2019 British Schools National Judo Championships took place at the weekend, and with over 700 strong and very determined young judo athlete’s all performing in front of a full house inside the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. It proved to be a thrilling two days of top quality competition as all the Judoka had the chance to be crowned the 2019 British Schools Champions.

All the athletes had previously competed at many regional championships held around Great Britain, to allow them to win selections to qualify for the National finals. The event is open to every type of school and pupils from Year 6 through to Year 13, and includes categories for Special Needs and visually impaired children.

Around 400 schools were represented over the course of the two days; along with hundreds of club coaches and excited parents who were all urging on all the judoka from the side-lines and cheering every win or sharing a disappointment while trying to motivate and keep the young athlete’s confidence high and ready to compete and take on each challenge.

Kingsley School Judo Club had qualified a team of 4 Judoka which was a mix of our school pupils and community club team.

Representing Kingsley was Jersey Yr7 and Gareth Yr12, who both competed on Sunday.

Jersey was first to compete in her new weight category of Under 44kilo in the Year 6 to 7 Division. She was a little nervous which contributed towards a preliminary round defeat to Nicole Mozyro. We had to work hard to retain focus in the warm up room and soon managed to find the spirit and determination to fight back through the competition winning her next 3 contests with a fantastic range of skillful groundwork techniques and throws. Jersey was starting to find her best form once again, and just in time as her final fight was going to be a big challenge and also a medal fight. She faced Isabelle Wilson from Mayfield Grammar School for the opportunity to win a National Medal. The fight started with both girls working hard to control each other’s grips and dominate the throw opportunities. But it was Jersey who was able to take advantage of a great transition phase after a throw, where she took control and turned over Isabelle into a strong Kesa Gatame and after an epic battle to keep the hold-down under control eventually Jersey held on to secure Ippon and win her second successive National Schools Bronze Medal. Jersey said, “I’m so happy I never though I’d win a medal today it’s been so hard.”

In the afternoon, it was Gareth who also had to settle moving up to the U73 kg division in the Yr 12-13 competition. Gareth competed incredibly well throughout the tournament, every fight went the full 4 minutes’ contest time, with Gareth matching his opponents with equally good Judo and determination. Gareth’s best performance came when he produced a classic Tome-nage throw to score Ippon against George Billyard from Eggbarrow College. Gareth went onto finish in 9th Place Overall after a final lost to Matt Brimicombe from Farnbourgh. But this was a positive day for Gareth who is still really new to this level of competition, his potential is brilliant and he showed today he is moving in the right direction with his Judo and confidence.

Kingsley clubs other team members also had a wonderful weekend with Tristan Walters winning a Gold to become British Schools Champion in the Year 8-9 U34 Kilo division. While Fintan produced an impressive performance in the Years 10 – 11 46kilo division to win a Bronze Medal.

Kingsley have an impressive record at the National Schools Championships, in recent years the team have returned from the event with an amazing 7 Gold, 2 Silver and 12 Bronze medals.

I’m really proud of the team’s efforts, it’s been a very long and difficult journey to prepare for these championships, but on reflection looking at the standard of competition, our team’s performances and achievements have been outstanding.

Mr Simon Ward