Northern Ireland Open 2017 James Silver, Karis Bronze

James and Karis competed in the Northern Ireland Open in Derry on the 23rd April.
1st to weigh in and compete was James fighting in the Cadet u18 age group and the u50kg weight group after a by ( he was seeded no 2 ) , his first fight he won in Golden score ( new rules mean no yukos and wazari score 1 and no amount of wazari lead to ippons now so you can do numerous wazari throws ) James then managed to win against his next opponent who  He had previously lost to in the championships. This result took James through to the final for gold or silver after being equal after the 4 minutes it was then Golden score again in the end James lost to a shido after being exhausted so a well earned Silver medal.
Karis was in a pool of 5 and managed a great 1st win by ippon in under 30 seconds she was less succesful in other fights but learned a lot and earned a bronze medal and valuable ippon points in her group of pre-cadets u15 u63kg.
A great day for our vale judoka we will definitely be coming to this tanking comp again big thanks to Derek for his coaching.

Tournament results

Congratulations to everyone who participated at the Lake of the Woods Judo Championship! All of our competitors brought home medals, namely Dylan (gold), Carolyn (silver), Nicholas (bronze), Avi (gold), Elise (gold), Michael (silver), and sensei Todd (gold & bronze).

Also, special congratulations go to the following for having been promoted in their referee rankings: sensei Pat (Provincial A), sensei Eric (Provincial A), sensei Brian (Provincial B), Tyler (Provincial C), and Elizabeth (Provincial C).


Day four of competition at the European championships in Warsaw ended with Georgia triumphant in retaining the Men’s team title. Despite the absence of Georgian talisman Varlam LIPARTELIANI, Avtandil TCHRIKISHVILI and Nugzari TATALASHVILI, the Georgians were nevertheless able to field a team strong enough to withstand the challenge posed by Europe’s best.

The Georgians began with a 4-1 win against Italy in round one and then a quarter final win against Serbia by the same 4-1 margin. Ukraine offered up a stronger challenge in the semi final when Vazha MARGVELASHVILI (-66kg) and an out of sorts Zebeda REKHVIASHVILI (-81kg) lost their contests to leave the Georgians trailing by 2-1. Beka GVINIASHVILI (-90kg) was replaced by Ushangi MARGIANI to face Vadym SYNYAVSKY (UKR) and it proved a good call from the Georgians as after 45 seconds Margiani scored waza ari with sode tsuri komi goshi. A minute later, a nicely timed piece of te waza brought an ippon to end the contest. With the score tied at 2-2 European champion at +100kg Guram TUSHISHVILI (GEO) stepped up to take on Iakviv KHAMMO (UKR) in the deciding contest. But a single waza ari scored with te waza by Tushishvili within the first minute was enough to take the Georgians into the final.

Up against Georgia in the final was number two seed Russia who had defeated Turkey (4-1), Netherlands (4-1) and France (5-0) along the way. Instead of Abdula ABDULZHALILOV the Russians decided to opt for Anzaur ARDANOV to face Vazha Margvelashvili. The contest was scoreless in normal time, but after only 14 seconds of golden score Margvelashvili caught Ardanov with ko soto gari for waza ari to give the Georgians a lead of 1-0. Next up was Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) who had not been at his best. And so it proved when after two minutes Shavdatuashvili attempted a right o uchi gari that was countered with left ko soto gake for ippon by Uali KURSHEV (RUS) to level the score at 1-1. Zebeda Rekhviashvili faced Stanislav SEMENOV (RUS) and the contest went into golden score where this time it was the turn of the Georgian Rekhviashvili to be thrown after 14 seconds with de ashi barai for waza ari giving Russia a 2-1 lead. Beka Gviniashvili was now required to save the match as he faced Magomed MAGOMEDOV (RUS). Two minutes into the contest it was Magomedov who ran on to a right sided uchi mata from Gviniashvili that scored waza ari and from which Gviniashvili secured yoko shio gatame for ippon bringing the score level at 2-2. It was left up to heavyweights Guram Tushishvili and Renat SAIDOV (RUS) to settle the destination of the team title. Tushishvili’s form, that had brought him the European individual heavyweight title the previous day, proved too good for Saidov who after a minute and a half was thrown beautifully with a low right sided morote seoi nage for ippon giving the Georgians the title.

With regard to the bronze medals, Ukraine ended up 5-0 winners over Azerbaijan and France lost to Hungary 5-0 in identical circumstances.


To conclude the 2017 European Judo Championships, the team event took place today at the Torwar Arena in Warsaw. Despite the low number of entries for the women team event, we were still able to enjoy a terrific day of judo.

There were a total number of seven women teams on board for the gold today. Given this fact, top seed, now former European team champion Polish team rested the first round as they began their day right away with a semi-final match up against Germany. The battle began with a head to head in the lower weight divisions. Germany was under risk the moment Nadja BAZYNSKI picked up a penalty during golden score against Agata OZDOBA of Poland. There was still hope, until birthday girl, Katarzyna KLYS, made her farewell party more enjoyable when she defeated Giovana SCOCCIMARRO. It was right at this moment when the Polish team secured their spot in the final.

Meanwhile, France began the day with a close 3-2 against the Netherlands. In their semi-final, the French team had to overcome a powerful line up from the Russian team. First it was Natalia KUZIUTINA defeating Amandine BUCHARD, as expected, in newaza. Helene RECEVAUX took revenge in same style when she held down Daria MEZHETCKAIA for the full 20 seconds. Margaux PINOT delivered what was expected, yet, not within the expected time. It took almost four minutes into golden score when the French fighter manage to come up with a score against Daria DAVYDOVA. It was crucial for Alena PROKOPENKO of Russia to win her contest against Marie Eve GAHIE of France. However, the French fighter fast forwarded all actions by a foot sweep into a transition to osei komi waza, within the first 30 seconds of the contest. To complete this particular match up, Olympic Champion, Emilie ANDEOL suffered a defeat against Ksenia CHIBISOVA, as the Russian judoka pressured Andeol to pick up three penalties making her to bow off with the red card.

There it was, the final of the 2017 European Judo Championships Women Team Event, featuring home favorite, Poland vs France. Whilst some would bank on a close match here, the outcome showed otherwise. What started as a single win from Amandine BUCHARD became a complete suppression from the French team as they won with a 5-0 score against Poland. 

Bronze medals won by Germany when defeatingthe Netherlands by 3-2, and Croatia whom overcome Russia by 4-1. 

Medal Table





The third and final day of individual competition at the 2017 European Judo Championships featured the remaining five heaviest weight divisions. Following on from a thrilling series of preliminary rounds, there was an astonishing end by ippon to all medal matches in the final block. And by way of putting the icing on the cake an historical performance was delivered to round up the final contest.

Of a total number of 34 athletes in the -90kg category, where Pool B could be described as the pool of death, it was Khusen KHALMUZAEV (RUS) who emerged from the pool having defeated Nikoloz SHERAZADASHVILI (ESP), Piotr KUCZERA (POL) and then Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) and all this to reach the semi final. Meanwhile Axel CLERGET (FRA) had ben making his way through pool A and a bruising encounter saw the Frenchman condemn the heavier of the Khalmurzaev twins to the repechage.

In the lower half of the draw it was Aleksandar KUKOLJ (SRB) who was impressive in disposing of opponents who were if truth be told not quite as testing as those lined up against Clerget. But Kukolj, the 2016 Tokyo Grand Slam winner simply set about defeating those opponents placed in front of him. The Serb fighter began by throwing Ciril GROSSKLAUS (SUI) with uchi mata for ippon, within the first 30 seconds of their contest. He then continued with another fast win against Rokas NENARTAVICIUS (LAT), the Latvian judoka having to bow of after being disqualified. Klen Kristofer KALJULAID (EST) was the first to detain Kukolj on the mat for longer than a minute. However, despite his efforts, Kaljulaid too found himself thrown for Ippon. In the semi final it was Mammadali MEHDIYEV (AZE) who pushed Kukolj into golden score where the Serb finally came up with a contest ending waza ari.

And so to the final and Clerget. The Frenchman, known for his waza, was himself surprisingly caught on the ground when after an unusual turnover Kukolj secured osaekomi whilst at the same time applying ude garami from which Clerget was forced to submit. Kukolj could proudly claim to be the first senior European champion from his country and proud he should be given the strength of the opposition that trailed in behind him.


The third and final day of the individual tournament of the 2017 European Judo Championships delivered an all-day spectacle to those followed all the actions. To top up the already exciting preliminary rounds, all medal matches ended with an Ippon score. Out of the last five weight classes remained to be seen on day three, all five gold medals were earned by different nations.

Aleksandar KUKOLJ (SRB), who was fortunate to avoid pool B of the contest sheet, made history when he overturned and held down Axel Clerget (FRA) in the final of the -90kg category. The moment the clock reached to 20 seconds, history was written by Kukolj becoming the first to win a Senior European title for his nation. It was another golden day for Azerbaijan as they celebrated a victory in the -100kg category. However, it was not for Olympic silver medallist, Elmar Gasimov. Instead, it was his team mate, Elkhan MAMMADOV who took the glory. Mammadov overcome his team mate, Gasimov, during the semi-finals before settling Olympic bronze medallist, Cyrille Maret (FRA) for a European silver. During the final contest, at most cases it looked as Maret was in the driving seat. However, 40 seconds into golden score, Mammadov came up with an exceptional sode tsuri komi goshi attempt whilst only wrapping one arm of Maret to pitch the French man on his back. The +100kg category was one of the most exciting of all, especially of those contests where Georgia’s Guram TUSHISHVILI was involved. This time around last year, the 22-year-old judoka was yet trying out his chances in a lower weight division not knowing his real gift will benefit him in the open weight class. On his way to the final, he overcome another new comer to this division, -100kg Olympic Champion, Lukas Krpalek (CZE). To than prove a point, in the final he defeated his team mate, Adam Okruashvili.

Audrey TCHEUMEO (FRA) was untroubled up until the final, where world ranking leader of the -78kg category, Guusje Steenhuis (NED) scored within the first 40 seconds. From that moment onwards, double Olympic medallist, Tcheumeo could not afford frustration to take away her power.  The situation continued to be more obstructing when the French fighter picked up her second penalty with only 50 seconds to go. Ten seconds later, Tcheumeo evens up the contest by a sumi gaeshi, and with only 18 seconds to go, she stuns Steenhuis for Ippon.

The +78kg category started off with Olympic Champion, Emilie Andeol (FRA) falling out first round. Following that, title older, Kayra Sayit (TUR) receives a revenge from Svitlana IAROMKA (UKR), whom than, repeatedly to last year, had to settle for the silver medal. The golden hopes faded away for the Ukrainian judoka the moment she failed to escape from the osei komi waza secured by Maryna SLUTSKAYA (BLR).


-78 kg

1. TCHEUMEO, Audrey (FRA)

2. STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED)

3. JOO, Abigel (HUN)

3. POWELL, Natalie (GBR)

+78 kg

1. SLUTSKAYA, Maryna (BLR)

2. IAROMKA, Svitlana (UKR)

3. WEISS, Carolin (GER)

3. CERIC, Larisa (BIH)

-90 kg

1. KUKOLJ, Aleksandar (SRB)

2. CLERGET, Axel (FRA)



-100 kg

1. MAMMADOV, Elkhan (AZE)

2. MARET, Cyrille (FRA)

3. DENISOV, Kirill (RUS)


+100 kg



3. MEYER, Roy (NED)

3. KRPALEK, Lukas (CZE)



Medal expectations were high for Azerbaijan on day two of competition at the Senior European Championships in Warsaw. For the most part, eyes were trained on reigning European champion and Olympic silver medallist Rustam ORUJOV (AZE) who began the day as number one seed. But it was team mate number six seed Hidayat HEYDAROV (AZE) who rose to the occasion to claim his first European senior title. The 19-year old Azeri arrived in Warsaw as the current holder of both the junior and -23 European titles at -73kg. It was a tall order to expect Heydarov to vanquish a field that contained three Olympic medallists. And yet he managed with some skill, flair and incredible fighting spirit to triumph from a field of 43.

After a first round bye Heydarov overcame by a single score of waza ari 2017 Katowice European Open winner Javier RAMIREZ (ESP). He followed this up with back-to-back wins by ippon first over Hasan VANLIOGLU (TUR), whom Heydarov forced into submission with a neatly executed shime waza, and then in the quarter final against number three seed Tommy MACIAS (SWE). This put Heydarov into the semi final against three times European champion UNGVARI Miklos (HUN). A very close contest saw Heydarov score waza ari from a modified kata guruma with only one second left on the clock to put the Azeri into his first senior European championship final.

In the final Heydarov faced Musa MOGUSHKOV (RUS) who in his fourth senior European championships was making his first appearance in a final. Unfortunately for the 29-year old Russian he was unable to bring his experience to the gold medal match and ended up committing three errors that led to his being disqualified and Heydarov being handed the title. There is time enough for Azerbaijan to determine how they will prepare their young talent [Heydarov] for the future. Keeping Heydarov focused on and around the tatami will be key to ensuring that such preparation will lead to success at the very highest level.


During all four medal ceremonies of day two, there were four different national anthems played. Amongst was Russia after winning their second gold medal today in addition to their three bronze medals. This put Ukraine down a place on the medal table onto second place with France currently standing in third position. 

2016 Rio Olympic Champion, Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) delivered what was expected and defended her European title. What might sound like a walk in the park was actually a narrow win for Trstenjak. Throughout the day, she was dominating until up to the final, where she faced Margaux Pinot of France. Pinot put on a show against, European, World and Olympic Champion, Trstenjak. At 4:15 into golden score, an accidental false attack from Pinot allowed Trstenjak to defend her title by a single penalty difference. At the start of the day, most bets would be put on Marie Eve Gahie (FRA) as the winner of the -70kg category. However, the French fighter suffered a defeat to latter winner, Sanne VAN DIJKE (NED). The Dutch fighter stunned first, Gercsak Szabina of Hungary before taking out Gahie to than meet yet another unexpected finalist, Giovanna Scoccimarro (GER). The final contest had a slow start to it, until Van Dijke came up with a score which shortly followed by another. Scoccimarro could not use up the remaining contest time to turn it around in her favour.

The -73kg category was rather exciting with 19-year-old Hidayat HEYDAROV (AZE) putting on a show. Heydarov fast finished most of his opponents within the four minutes of the clear contest time. The single occasion Heydarov had to work for a little longer, and the only contest he could not manage to score in was during the final against Musa Mogushkov (RUS). Following a loss in the -73kg, the Russian team was able to celebrate a category above, where Alan KHUBETSOV (RUS) stormed through all five of his opponents, whilst not a single one of them managed to score on him. On one hand, Khubetsov managed to keep a clear sheet whilst racking up the total amount of three ippons and three waza ari.



-73 kg

1. HEYDAROV, Hidayat (AZE)


3. MACIAS, Tommy (SWE)

3. ORUJOV, Rustam (AZE)

-81 kg


2. RESSEL, Dominic (GER)

3. DRUZETA, Dominik (CRO)


-63 kg


2. PINOT, Margaux (FRA)



-70 kg

1. VAN DIJKE, Sanne (NED)

2. SCOCCIMARRO, Giovanna (GER)

3. GAHIE, Marie Eve (FRA)

3. MATIC, Barbara (CRO)




Reffing progress

So I've been reffing a number of years now, 12 months ago passing my BJA National B exam at the Kent International competition.

It seems that is starting to open doors as I get more invites to referee from around the country. Most recently in Edinburgh at the Sportif competition. Driving up on Friday, reffing Saturday and driving back on Sunday was a tiring weekend, but enjoyable.

The senior ref I was working with was mostly complementary, perhaps need to be a bit harder on penalties but I knew I needed to work on that. Stop giving the players the benefit of the doubt about infringements.

Still, it felt positive.

Next big event prior to that was the national student Judo competition, BUCS. Held in Sheffield each year, it's easy for me to get to. This year was a new experience in that I had a reffing assessment while I was there, which consisted of the senior ref on my mat scoring various aspects of my performance.

Just so happened he was the ref that examined me for my B badge too!

I got a solid B rating back from that, a couple of comments on what I would consider subjective things but a solid score for a B ref, which is reassuring that I'm at the right level.

You know what else is nice? Being able to write a post that is positive! I'm aware a lot of my posts can be a bit ranty so it feels nice to buck that trend :)


Even in her wildest dreams it is unlikely that Daria BILODID (UKR) ever envisaged holding three European titles at the same time. Already the holder of the Cadet and Junior European titles, her gold medal winning performance today in the -48kg category added the Senior European title to her unique collection. Whilst today’s win may not be considered by some to have been the most visually attractive of wins, the nature of Bilodid’s previously unimaginable achievement is undeniable.

The 16-year old Ukrainian had already given some indication of her preparedness for the rigors of the day with a gold medal earlier in the year at the European Open in Prague. Nevertheless, unseeded and unfancied by most, Bilodid attracted attention from the outset with regard to whether she could avoid being swept away by senior opposition. First to fall was Maria PERSIDSKAIA (RUS) who failed to come to terms with the Ukrainian’s superior gripping skills and, in a scoreless contest, collected three shidos. In the quarter final number one seed Milicia NIKOLIC (SRB) managed to score waza ari and hold that lead for over half the contest. But in attempting to avoid the pressure applied by Bilodid, Nikolic too collected three shidos, the last coming with only four seconds left on the clock.

The semi final against CSERNOVICZKI (HUN) provided Bilodid with her stiffest test to date in her short senior career. Facing the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and twice European champion, Bilodid again proved more than a handful and matched the tempo and combative nature of the Hungarian. The contest went into golden score where Bilodid came up with the winning score (makikomi) for waza ari. In the final the improbable became a reality when Bilodid (again in golden score) managed to catch Irina DOLGOVA (RUS) for the winning waza ari.

After the medal presentation Bilodid was unswerving in stating her desire for the future, “I want to win the Olympic title,” said a beaming Daria. With this solid performance it is difficult to doubt her sincerity or prospects.