STRIKING GOLD

CAUSEWAY Judo Club are celebrating again following their success at the recent NI Closed Trials, which were held in the University of Ulster, Coleraine.

The club ended up securing 8 Northern Ireland titles (gold), four silver and five bronze. Out of this 10 Causeway Fighters have secured their place on the Northern Ireland Squad.

Two of the club’s gold medalists, Corey Leighton, a pupil at Dunluce School, and Diane Peden of Coleraine High School, who also picked up a silver medal, hail from the Coleraine area.

Head Coach Alan Ashcroft said: “Corey deserves a lot of recognition for well earned gold medal.

“This qualifies him for the Northern Ireland squad, which is a preliminary squad for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

“Corey had to take an enforced break from Judo after suffering a number of inuries, so for him to battle back and achieve this says a lot about his skill and expertise. He has a wealth of experience having won medals in England in Scotland in the past and I can only see him adding to those now.

“His club mate Diane has also qualified for the NI squad after picking up a gold and silver in the U68kg category.

“Diane is very dedicated to her sport and she was recently promoted to brown belt along with her father by their instructors.”

Causeway Judo is Ballymoney based, but members are from all areas of the Causeway.

From nearby Ballybogey the three Ashcroft brothers scored a hat-trick, with all brothers taking a title, indeed not just three titles but four as Cameron Ashcroft won gold in the cadet and also gold in the under 20 junior section.

His older brother Kurtis ended up with gold and silver in the under 20 and senior men. These boys between them fought thirteen fights and only conceded one, just another shining example of what they have to offer this sport.

Ballymoney girls Cerys Bartlett and Brooke Elston both did their club proud by gaining silver and bronze, they showed their fighting spirit and will be a force to be reckoned with at any event.

Tom Greenwood, of Portglenone and a member of Causeway, took the gold at his first ever competition at the tender age of eight.

From early in his career it was evident he was a born natural; his enthusiasm and mannerism on the mat will certainly take him places.

Alan Ashcroft said: “This is an enormous achievement to say the least, but given we are a country-based club it is staggering, we were certainly probably the most successful club on the day.

“Leading up to the competition, we employed a strategy to cater for all players, myself, Marshal Craig, Ian McNeill and Mark Donald.

“We implemented a programme which we reckoned could produce the desired results and thankfully that’s what we got, however it’s the children whose perseverance and drive pulled it through.”

The list of medal winners were as follows; Tom Greenwood - gold U25kg, Diane Peden - gold, silver U68kg, Glen McCullough - gold kyu, Corey Leighton - gold U73kg, Cameron Ashcroft - 2 gold U55kg, Jacob Ashcroft - Gold U40kg, Kurtis Ashcroft - gold, silver U66kg, Mikel Gueretti - 2 bronze U73kg, Matt Walterson - Bronze lower kyu, Clyfford Patterson - Bronze lower kyu, Brooke Elston - bronze U36kg, Cerys Bartlett - silver U38kg, Davy Michael - silver O100kg.

To make this competition possible, a lot of behind-the-scenes hard work was given by certain individuals.

The competition was hosted by Causeway Club in conjunction with Coleraine, Ballymoney man Marshal Craig who was event co-ordinator, delivered an exceptional effort, and big thank you also has to be given to Lamont Fireplaces who supplied a lorry for the transport of over 400 judo mats.