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Judo medal haul.
Source : Carmarthen Journal, Wednesday, April 21, 1999.
The competition was attended by over 300 competitors from all over Great Britain and Europe.
These Championships have been selected by the British Judo Association as a “ranking event” where the medallists are awarded points which at the end of the year will qualify them to become members of the British Team.
As a result of the majority of the British Team were present including Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth medallists.
The first to compete was Mark Griffiths in the under 81kg category. This was a very difficult contest that found him competing against the current Commonwealth Silver medallist.
He put up a spirited effort but finally succumbed to a superbly executed throw, which gave his opponent an ippon win.
During the following contests Mark made British team members work very hard but he eventually failed to reach the quarterfinals. He commented; “I found the experience invigorating and will certainly be training even harder after this taster.”
The only lady in the team was Louise Beard who competed in the under 78kg category, again a very difficult weight group loaded with British Team members.
The contests were tough and found her pulling out all the stops, especially after she won through to the final.
The contest for the gold and silver medal was a titanic struggle with Louise trying everything she knew in trying to defeat her opponent, the current British number one.
However the experience of her opponent finally brought the contest to a close when he was thrown for a contest winning ippon score.
Louise was presented with her silver medal and said, “I enjoyed the contest and look forwards to the next championships”.
The last competitor was Ceri Griffiths who was fighting in the under 100kg weight group in which he was ranked number seven in Britain last year.
This championship was a tough test for him as the line up included the current British team members.
The opening fights proved to be difficult as expected but Ceri fought well and won through to the final stages. At this stage he was within striking distance of achieving a medal place.
The following contest confirmed the standard of these championships with judo of an excellent standard being shown by everyone. Ceri however proved to be equal to the task and won his remaining fights to reach the final where he faced the current British number two.
The final was an eagerly awaited contest as both competitors were showing wonderful skills, however after just a few skirmishes Ceri had to withdraw from the contest with an injury to his wrist.
This was a disappointing was for the final to finish but Ceri did at least go home with a thoroughly deserved silver medal, saying, “I am disappointed at losing the final in this way but I am pleased with getting a silver medal in such a tough Championships”.
Everyone at Carmarthen Judo Club and one of the coaches congratulated all three competitors. Mr. Gwilym Vanderbrink said, “These three have worked hard to compete at this level and are showing they can rival the best in Britain.
Carmarthen Judo Club has room for those who simply want to keep fit to those who want to compete with the best. Judo is up and coming in this area and these three are giving the younger members something to aim at”.