Judokas from Kingsley School Judo Club enjoyed a weekend of success at the 2017 British National Championships held at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
Amie McMurray, current British Schools National champion, made her debut at the Pre-Cadet under-14 National Championships. She started the event well, beating her Scottish opponent Kirsty Lawson with a strong turn over linking into a Mune-Gatame hold down to score the maximum ten points Ippon to win.
She then fought her way past the rest of the group, including a semi-final victory against Sophie Carson, to set herself up a rematch in the final with London’s Valentine Backelez, who had beaten McMurray earlier this season at the Welsh Open.
The contest was a tense battle with both girls counting out each other’s strong attacks and working hard to produce lots of opportunities to gain a winning score during the three minute bout.
As the fight went on, McMurray seized on a mistake from Backelez and countered her attack which resulted in the Kingsley School judoka once again producing a well-drilled turn over to pin her opponent down and score five points.
Even though Backelez escaped the pin, she wasn’t able to score any points against some amazing defence work from McMurray, who ran the clock down and held onto her advantage to become Pre-Cadet under-32-kg British champion.
Mark Wild was competing in the Cadet under-60-kg division and fought through to the quarter-finals of his pool following three excellent wins.
However, a last minute lack of concentration cost Wild a semi-final place as Jonah Alfert threw him for Ippon in golden score.
Wild was left to fight his way back through to earn a possible bronze medal. He was fighting well but, unfortunately, after a few more victories, his day came to end after being eliminated by Logan Campbell.
Despite his frustration, Wild did finish the event in 12th place out of 39 athletes in his group and, at this high level of competition, it’s a very respectable position.
Zach McMurray took to the mat to compete in the Pre-Cadet under-38-kg division. It certainly wasn’t the best of draws for Zach who would need to be at his very best to challenge for a medal in this highly-competitive category.
He got through the opening round before losing to Owen Lambert, which dropped Zach down into the bronze medal bouts. He started well and was looking to dominate the tempo with some excellent grip work, which would set up opportunities to use his best techniques.
Zach overpowered Liam Perote Veras from London, before losing out to Samuel Walker from Scotland, who went onto win the bronze medal.
Zach finished in 15th place overall and will remain part of the England Regional Development Squad for 2018.