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Trio's first taste of top-class judo.
Source : Carmarthen Journal, Wednesday, November 26, 2003.
The three were representing their country at international level for the first time and were chosen after their solid performances at championships throughout the year and their membership to the larger Welsh squad system.
There were in excess of 400 competitors at the championships, representing all ages and levels of experience.
The trio from Carmarthen fought against strong and experienced international competitors.
Jonathan Earle, aged 14, was the first to fight and put up an excellent performance on the day. He showed tremendous skill and determination, missing a place in the quarterfinals by the narrowest of margins.
Thomas Wood, 16, had probably the hardest path that was possible in his weight group being drawn against the two experienced British international champions almost two years older than himself. Despite losing his fights he was not outclassed, giving as good as he got.
Ifor Capel, 14, made a very successful start to his Welsh international career, getting through to the final of the under 81kg category. Each fight was a tough test with the final being the toughest. Despite giving his all Ifor narrowly missed out on the British Championship gold but was very pleased with a silver medal on his first outing with the Welsh team.
Carmarthen had also been chosen as the permanent venue for the Welsh Regional Performances Squad to train. The dojo (training hall) in Carmarthen will be used by in excess of 150 youngsters and adults every week and has proved a tremendous success since being bought and renovated in 1996 by volunteers.