NIJF success at 2013 British Championships
11 players from the NIJF travelled to Sheffield over 2 weekends for the 2013 British Championships. The first weekend saw Britain's top Pre-Cadets & Cadets take centre stage in the EIS in Sheffield. Northern Ireland's first medal was won by Kirstie Strouts-McCallion of Longtower in the Pre-Cadet girls u63kgs. After a bye in the first round, Kirstie lost out to the eventual British Champion Lucy King of Moberly in the quarter final. Kirstie then entered the repechage where she defeated players from Sportif & SKK to claim a well-deserved Bronze medal.
Northern Ireland's next medal was won by Laura Williamson of Hazama in the Cadet girls u63kg category. Laura got off to a great start winning her first 2 contests against players from Osaka & Yoshin Ryu to put her through to the semi-finals. Laura lost out on a place in the final to Lubjana Piovesana of Bishop Challoner but then regained her composure to win her Bronze medal contest by Ippon.
Our final medal was won by Matthew Elliott of Murakwai in the Pre-Cadet boys u60kg. Despite narrowly losing his opening contest, Matthew looked impressive winning his next 2 fights in 11 seconds and 5 seconds to win his pool and progress to the semi-finals. Matt lost out in the semi's to Mark Smith from Tayside (who went on to claim gold) leaving him with a bronze medal.
2 of our other Pre-Cadets narrowly missed out medals; Jamie McFadden from Longtower performed extremely well in the u38kg category. After a bye in the first round & a win in the second round, Jamie narrowly lost out on penalties to the eventual British Champion, Archie Platt from Osaka in the quarter finals. This left Jamie 3 wins away from a bronze medal but after 2 more wins with big ippon throws, Jamie lost out in his Bronze medal contest leaving him in 5th place. Conor Kelly from Murakwai fought well in the u50kg category, after a bye in the first round and 2 big ippon throws, Conor faced Christopher Kumesu-Egri from Destination Judo in the semi-finals. Despite leading for the majority of the fight, Conor lost out on a place in the final on penalties and then lost again in his Bronze medal contest leaving him in 5th place. 3 of our Cadets were also placed in the top 10. Bobbie Cardwell from Abbey in the girls u57kg category & James Reid from Murakwai in the boys u73kg category both won 3 fights each & Skye Sands of Murakwai won 1 contest in the girls u48kg category, all 3 players finished in 9th place.
The second weekend in the same venue was the British Championships for Juniors & Seniors. Jodie Kee from Murakwai was Northern Ireland's only competitor taking part. Jodie finished in a respectable 5th place in a very tough u63kg category. Jodie lost out to the Gold & Silver medallists from the 2012 British Championships but defeated the 2012 Commonwealth silver medallist.
Congratulations to all players & coaches who attended & we hope that everyone can build on these excellent results in the coming year.