Report by Reece Lawrence
Birmingham’s judo team turned out in a wide range of weight categories for Saturday’s individual competition, and although most of them were the sole representatives in many of their respective categories, the support from their fellow Birmingham participants was stirring. Coach Fitzroy Davies was constantly darting about the hall at the Don Valley Stadium making sure he gave his support and advice to his students. Captain Fia Barnes bowed out to an Olympic Games hopeful in qualifying, as did Hannah Randall to similar level opponents, but there was success elsewhere in the field. The over 78kg high grade division saw a fourth place finish, while Andrew Foster and Luke Norman progressed well into the knockout stages. Birmingham’s efforts did not go without reward. It was Chris Gann and Annie Smith who took the glory, both of them picking up silver medals for the under 81kg low and under 70kg low categories respectively. Barnes was upbeat about the team’s progress by the end of the day. ‘Everyone fought really hard today’, she said. ‘We had a few unlucky draws; our boys fought amazingly well.’
Of medal winner Smith she had nothing but praise, ‘she fought with all her heart, some of the fights went on for the full five minutes but she just kept going, and was knackered by the end of it.’
In the team event Birmingham failed to achieve much success, with the men losing to eventual champions Anglia Ruskin and Nottingham but beating Aberdeen. The women’s team also struggled and went down in all three of their pool matches. Competitor Glen Collins felt that the team may have fared better had they had a full team at their disposal. In the women’s regional events, Birmingham uni’s Emily Snell represented the Midlands side who ended up winning the event.