Carmarthen Judo Club
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Duo storm to Welsh titles.
Source : Geoff Griffiths, Saturday, April 29, 2006.

The successful Carmarthen judo team.
Back (L-R): Tom Wood, Chris Wyatt, Emyr Ap Sion, Ceri Griffiths & Rhys Evans.
Front (L-R): Claire Wyatt & Catrin Davies.
Click on image for larger version.
A small team from the Club attended the Welsh National Judo Championships at The Welsh Institute of Sport, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. In this years team there were more seniors competing than juniors - two juniors and five seniors - a rare occurrence.

The two juniors were Jonathan Earle and Catrin Davies. Catrin fought in the under 52kg weight group and found the going tough, however she made it through the preliminary rounds and into the finals. She showed her usual determination and fought through to a well deserved bronze medal. Jonathan, under 60kg category, fought very well and was unlucky to be beaten in the early rounds. However he showed his mettle in his final fight when, despite being out of medal contention, he put up his best fight of the day winning with a well deserved ippon score. (10 points maximum). This left him fifth on the day.

The seniors included two who were fighting for the first time in the National Championships as senior competitors, they were Claire Wyatt, under 63kg group and Rhys Evans in the under 90kg wight group. Claire had some excellent fights, narrowly losing to more experienced opponents. The judo skills and determination she showed augers well for her future in senior competition. Rhys once again came up against very stiff opposition making Rhys's fights the more impressive. Although not reaching the medal positions and despite an age and experience gap his performance proved he has the talent and ability to improve. In time he can develop into a senior judo fighter of note.

Two of the team were in the same weight group, Tom Wood and Chris Whatley, the under 60kg's. These two set the fighting arena alight with a wonderful display of powerful judo. Their skills and winning ways were such that, unfortunately, they met in the semi final. The fight was a titanic struggle with each fighter showing incredible skill and determination, however, there could only be one winner and that proved to be Chris Whatley but Tom Wood ended his bid for the Welsh title with a bronze medal.Chris went through to the final in excellent heart, despite having a twinge of regret about beating Tom. The final was a true classic with each of the fighters proving highly capable. Chris finally overcame his opponent with a well executed move winning the Welsh Title in style.

Emyr Ap Sion was fighting in the under 73kg. category where he is a well known figure having won many titles and medals all over the country. The early rounds proved that Emyr was once again a force to be reckoned with, he beat opponents in style and reached the final. The final proved to be a cat and mouse affair with both fighters showing wonderful judo skills. The contest was all square until almost the final seconds when Emyr was caught for a small score that eventually gave the title to his opponent. Emyr returned to Carmarthen with a silver medal which was thoroughly deserved.

The last fighter in the team was Ceri Griffiths in the open, plus 100kg, weight group. He was returning to competitive judo after a 6 year lay off due to injury having previously won Welsh, British and Irish titles and having represented Wales in the 2000 Canadian Commonwealth where he won a bronze medal. However after such a long lay off would he be able to take up the challenge? Ceri proved he had lost none of the skill developed over the years and he demolished the opposition reaching the final with ease. The final was against the current Welsh number 1 and Armed Forces Champion. His opponent's reputation meant nothing as Ceri won with total commitment Judo. This was the second Welsh Title of the day for Carmarthen.

The last time Ceri and Chris won Welsh titles on the same day was in 1992 when they were still juniors.

Louise BEARD, Carmarthen Club Coach said "The whole team from Carmarthen made a fantastic impression on the day winning five medals from eight competitors including two Welsh Champions. The only Welsh Club to have two senior titles this year. Those who failed, on this occasion, to gain a medal were a credit to the Club and Carmarthen Town showing skills that will surely see them in the medals during the next few years. I can also announce that Ceri and Chris have been asked by the Welsh Judo Association to represent Wales at the Commonwealth Judo Tournament. This is a well deserved accolade for our two title holders and can only benefit judo in Carmarthen ."

Carmarthen Judo Club has in excess of 11,000 people a year train at the dojo in Old Llangunnor Road, the majority being children aged 5 to 16. The Club is currently in talks with Carmarthenshire County Council to create a state of the art Martial Arts Centre at the rear of the Leisure Centre in Johnstown. The Club has approached funding agencies for grants to construct this modern facility and are awaiting the results. The centre will cater for all available martial arts and will cost in the region of 460, 000.00. However, to complete the funding package, we are looking for sponsors who wish to be associated with a successful club and centre that will be the best in Wales.