LOCAL Judo players made the most of home advantage as the Northern Ireland Judo Open Championships at the Foyle Arena at the weekend.
Competition for the two day event at the Foyle Arena was intense, attracting over 500 judoka in 11 categories including Junior and Senior men and women and Masters men.
Derry’s Callum Nash from the Yamakwai club struck gold in the Junior Men’s under 66kgs weight division, coming through three contests before seeing off Scott Brelsford from Camberley in the final.
James Reid followed up his recent Silver medal in the British Championships with a Gold medal in the Senior Men’s under 90kgs category.
The Simply Judo clubman had a bye in the first round before victories over Erik Becker and James Seccombe took him into the Gold medal contest.
It took Reid just 57 seconds to dispose of Ealing’s Silviu Nastasa in the final to take the Gold medal. Reid then flew out to Antalya, Turkey to take part in a Great Britain Olympic training session.
Reid’s fellow Simply Judo club colleague Matthew Elliott claimed Gold in the Junior Men’s Under 73kgs classification.
Elliott took 18 seconds to win his semi-final against Ryan Turnbull but was pushed for four minutes in the final against Bearach Gleeson of Swords before achieving victory with an arm lock.
Elliot took his second medal of the day by securing a Bronze in the Senior Men’s Under 73kg Repechage.
James McCullough, Simply Judo (Men’s Masters Under 90kg) and Ashley Doherty, Abbey Judo (Men’s over 90kg Cadet), also won Gold medals.
Bill Taggart, Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Judo Federation, acclaimed the Open as an unqualified success.
“The Open doesn’t just happen, the groundwork goes in months before and it takes everyone working as a team to deliver the event on the day,” he said.
“We’re very lucky to have great relationships with officials from other associations that we can call on to be part of the Open and the best thing is, they all enjoy coming to our event.
“We have a lot of people to thank for making this event such a success, including the officials, volunteers, coaches and of course the competitors, so we thank them all.
“Also, our sponsors from the City of Derry Airport who really added to the day with a ‘Free Flights’ competition, photos with spectators and being guest medal presenters as well.”
For more information on how you can get involved in judo locally log on to www.nijudo.com