2019 ROUND-UP: And what a year it was...
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2019 ROUND-UP: And what a year it was...Posted: 17/12/2019
The weekend saw the last event of the judo calendar: the 2019 IJF Masters. Sarah Adlington and Sally Conway headed to China to compete for the last ranking points of what has been a busy year for the duo. Although it wasn’t to be on this occasion with neither securing a medal, it’s worth reflecting on another amazing year for performance judo in Scotland.
Last weekend (7-8 December) saw the premier domestic event of the calendar with the 2019 British Junior and Senior Championships in Sheffield, where JudoScotland judoka delivered a fantastic haul of 28 medals. We had 5 Junior British Champions (Josie Steele (-57kg), Emily Ritchie (+78kg), Oliver Park (+60kg), Billy Rodman (+66kg) and Aaron Miller (-90kg), and 7 Senior British Champions (Kim Renicks (-48kg), Josie Steele (-57kg), Emily Ritchie (+78kg), Neil Macdonald (-66kg), Stuart McWatt (-81kg), Cailin Calder (-100kg) and Chris Sherrington (+100kg). The 28 medals of all colours won by JudoScotland judoka across the weekend once again proves what a fantastic contribution these athletes make to the British performance pathway.
As well as domestic success throughout the year, our judoka have put in strong performances internationally with 5 Junior European Cup, 3 Senior European Cup, 4 Senior Continental Open, 1 Grand Prix, 1 Grand Slam and 1 Senior World Championship medals won. JudoScotland judoka top the table with regards to the most Junior European Cup medals (Josie Steele), Senior Continental Open medals (Stuart McWatt) and World Championship medals (Sally Conway) won by British judoka in 2019.
This success does not ‘just happen’. There is a tremendous amount of hard work that goes on day in, day out from our dedicated athletes to ensure they are continually striving to be better. And none of the above would be possible without the support our judoka receive from their families, clubs, coaches and support staff. As judo founder Kano said: “Where there is effort there is always accomplishment”; It’s safe to say that there has been a lot accomplished this year through an incredible amount of hard work from everyone involved.
Kano also said that the true purpose of judo is “to attempt to perfect oneself in order to contribute to society”. The pursuit of excellence by our performance judoka is a strong example of the attempt to perfect oneself with the true benefit of this endeavour manifesting itself in the contribution our judoka are making to the wider society around them. As well as the fantastic results, 2019 has been a year where our judoka have made great strides in their personal betterment, with the morals of judo widely engrained in how they go about their day-to-day lives. A number of them act as mentors and role models within their clubs and broader Scottish judo community, with many also giving back by coaching judo in their spare time.
As we look ahead into 2020, there is much to anticipate. We currently have 2 judoka in direct Olympic Qualification positions for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games whilst many of our younger judoka will be starting to set their sights on the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. There are certainly plenty of opportunities coming up to grow, develop and perform. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our performance programme throughout 2019 – here’s to a great 2020!