British judokas led by Great Britain number one heavyweight Peter Vincent fought in the World Sports Games multi-sport event held in Riga, Latvia for AJA GB.
The competition was fierce with judo players from Austria, Belgium, Spain, Iran, Tunisia, France, Latvia and Finland entering the event.
The team of Brits came away with a silver, bronze and a fifth place in the men’s individuals and 4th place in the male teams. The ladies fought extremely hard but fell to the strong Austrian team who fielded many top European players. The GB team was helped by the inclusion of Belgian Champion under 48kg Amelien Deckers who defeated European silver medallist Lisa Dengg to give Britain a consolation win.
Team Captain Peter Vincent came through a tough pool to reach the semi-final of the over 100kg after sustaining a rib injury after hitting a poorly placed barrier in the opening fight of the pool. He defeated French heavyweight Alexis Martin by Ippon in the semi to reach the final and a rematch with Iranian Hamid Reza Sajjadifard whom Peter defeated in his pool. Unfortunately Peter came out second best in the rematch which gave him the silver medal in a very tough category.
In the under 81kg category Louie Bennet Walsh was the surprise package of the day battling through his pool. Two of his fights went to golden score with Louie winning both of them to take second spot in the pool and a semi-final berth against eventual winner Hamza Barhoumi of Tunisia. Louie who is a 2nd kyu blue belt certainly upset the form book with some great battling performances to take his Bronze medal.
Louie’s brother Jonah had to settle for 5th place having an extremely tough draw in his pool in the under 73kg class.
In the team competition there were outstanding performances against the gold medallists Iran with GB losing a close match 3-2. Carl Boiling led the charge in the light weights defeating Keyvan Bahrami who won the under 60kg gold in the individuals by a leg strangle followed by Jonah Bennet Walsh beating the Iranian under 73kg Gold medallist Masoud Khanahmadloo. Iran pulled the match back to 2-2 which meant an exciting final fight to decide the winners. Peter Vincent took on Mohsen Hadiei in a mammoth struggle with the whole arena cheering the British Judoka on. The fight went 8 minutes into Golden score with both fighters exhausted the referee gave a shido to the British fighter and the match went to Iran 3-2.
The British defeated Finland 3-1 to finish in 4th place in the teams overall.
‘This is a very tough event and all of the players had a great experience in the competitions and also in the training sessions that we shared with the Belgians, French and Finnish teams’. ‘it was difficult to assess my own performance as I was injured in the first fight but kept going to take my second silver in the Games as I picked up a silver in Lignano in 2015 in the under 100kg category. The players that we took had all worked very hard this year to ensure that they put in their best performances and no one lost focus or gave any ground in the matches and the experience at this level will certainly motivate everyone to train harder ready for their next competitions’.
The team consisted of judoka from Sussex, Surrey and Kent, Sophie Curtis Nicole Hillier Kira Brown Peter Vincent James Stringer Morgan Class Kirtley Carl Boiling Louie Bennett Walsh and Jonah Bennett Walsh.