Coleraine Judo Club tasted success at the recent All Ireland Championships with an impressive six medals comprising of one gold, two silver, three bronze and and two fifth places.
The event was held at the Valley Leisure Centre in Newtownabbey and fielded top players from all over Ireland.
Coleraine’s golden girl was Abigail McAfee who skilfully won all her contests against older and more experienced players.
Another impressive performance was by Caitlin Henry who although being smaller and often younger than her opponents gave it her all, making the final by ippon (10 point) wins. Unfortunately Caitlin was narrowly defeated in the final by a very strong opponent. Caitlin (9) is a very talented junior player who up until this event has never lost a contest, so she now knows what it’s like to lose! This has not discouraged the young player who is back training as usual.
The other Coleraine silver medallist was Robyn Fraser who fought well throughout the day but was narrowly defeated in the final leaving her with the silver medal. The Club’s junior bronze medallists were Caitlin McMahon and Eva Gormley who both narrowly missed a place in their respective finals.
A spokesman remarked that it was especially gratifying to see Eva Gormley overcoming her fears of competition and winning a medal.
It was disappointment for John Gormley who had to move categories and then having to retire with a minor injury before his Bronze medal contest which left him in fifth place.
Likewise Reece Fraser who had an excellent year in 2015 with several podium placings including a medal at the Northern Ireland Open, only finished in fifth place.
In the Senior Competition David Small, 2nd Dan, put up an impressive performance in the under 81kg category against Eoin Fleming of the Belfast-based Yamakwai Club. Eoin is an Irish International player who won a bronze medal at the 2013 World Cup and represented Northern Ireland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
David’s early round contest with Eoin would have made an excellent final which nearly went to full time whereupon David was pinned by Eoin for ippon (10 points). This eliminated David from the final leaving him with a well-deserved bronze.
Club Secretary Peter Cuckoo once again officiated as Competition Recorder while Paul Price and Richard Briggs assisted the Coleraine Squad as mat side coaches.