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JUDO TRIO FACE TOUGHEST TEST.
Source : Carmarthen Journal, Wednesday, January 20th 1999.
Wales recently stages the most prestigious Judo Championships of the domestic calendar.
The British National Judo Championships were held at the National Sports Centre in Cardiff and attracted over 400 competitors from all the home nations.
The competitors included Olympic medallists, World and European Champions, Commonwealth Champions and every current British international.
The competition was fierce over two days and three members of Carmarthen Judo Club, Old Llangunnor Road, were in the thick of it.
Louise Beard, a student at Trinity College, had an exceptionally tough draw fighting the current British number one in her first fights and the European Champion in her second.
Louise made a valiant effort against these highly skilled competitors but she finally succumbed to the experienced internationals.
During both of her opening fights Louise showed the girt and determination which won her two Welsh titles in 1998; however she failed to gain a medal but did finish in the top six.
Mark Griffiths, a student at Pembrokeshire College, also had a very tough draw facing the Commonwealth silver medallist in his first fight. Mark battled wall the way giving this opponent a tough time; however despite trying everything he lost to a wonderfully executed Ippon throw.
His final fight, to reach the last 8, was against the current under 21 British Champion. This was a dour battle which found Mark handicapped with a fractured knuckle in his hand. The bout was a titanic struggle but eventually mark lost to the narrowest of margins.
Ceri Griffiths, who had recently graduated from Brighton University, had a massive task on his hands after being beaten in his first fight by the current Commonwealth Champion.
Due to this loss and the method of competition he could now only gain a bronze medal if he won every other contest he was in. On the day he put up a superb performance winning every other fight until his last contest which saw him pitted against the number three ranked player in Britain,
The contest proved to be a fierce but short when Ceri disposed of his opponent with a classic Ippon throw. This performance won him praise from all quarters and certainly bodes well for his ambitions of representing Wales in the next Commonwealth Tournament in Canada.
It is also perhaps worth mentioning how important and momentous this achievement was in that he was the only Welsh competitor to gain a medal on the day. A well deserved bronze medal was presented to him by the chairman of the British Judo Association.
All three competitors were warmly congratulated on their performances by all at Carmarthen Judo Club, as well as on their inclusion in the Welsh Senior Judo Squad.
Mr Gwilym Vanderbrink, chairman of the Club, complimented the three on their achievements and said: “We no have four junior Welsh squad members and three senior Welsh squad members in the club, which is a real achievement.
However the club is also proud of all those who train with us, whether for pleasure and fitness only or as competitors.
Carmarthen Judo Club trains at Old Llangunnor Road on Tuesday and Friday evenings where newcomers of all ages over 5 years are welcome.