Unless you are one of the fortunate few whose weight falls exactly on the upper end of the weight category, you have to cut down on food and water intake to make the weight. Everyone on the University of Bath team has invested months of training and take their sport seriously enough to warrant a brief period of discomfort to give themselves an advantage. When competing at the top level in a combat sport, athletes will be subject to a certain weight class and they will aim to be the strongest and heaviest person in that class. Serious athletes cut their weight down to a lower class only to add weight after the weigh-in. They are then heavier for the actual fight, and have the potential to be stronger than their opponents. This is not easy with people having to give up their favourite foods for weeks, but it’s all part of the preparation for the all-important BUCS Judo competition.
The event is divided into an individual and a team competition, which are then divided into various weight categories with two grades offered in each competition. The two grades are Dan grade (Black Belts) and restricted Kyu grade (everything else except for white belts).
The intention was clear from the start, Bath Judo were aiming to reclaim its title as the number one university Judo team – after all they had to get something back after giving up on many a tasty pleasure. The team were able to seal an overwhelming victory for the University during the BUCS competition held at the end of February. Not only did they come back with almost everyone medaling, but they were also able to make history by regaining the team’s tittle which meant that after a short stint, Bath reclaimed the team event’s title, which it has been the holder of for 8 of the past 15 years, five of which were consecutive.
This year, after losing many fighters to injury, a team of 6 men and 2 women was sent to represent Bath Judo. They came back with 7 medals; two bronze, one silver and four gold. The club was also victorious in the team’s event yielding the 5 men comprising the team 5 more gold medals. Gold medals in the men’s categories were claimed for Jan Gosiwski, Adam Conroy, Chloe Robyns-Landricombe, and Conor Murphy; while Renz Vvallejera won a silver medal and Alix Patrick-Warren won bronze, all of which were in the Dan Grade. Special Mention goes to Nam Wong for a very good performance in the Restricted Kyu Grade category.
The impressive performances the athletes delivered to obtain gold medals has secured them places to represent Bath Judo and the University at the European Universities Championships in October 2015. The dedication and training the athletes have invested has definitely paid off and the whole club is behind them, supporting them in their preparation for the upcoming competition.
The Judo team currently has 84 BUCS points, a 41% increase over the last year, and that number could have been greater if it was not for the athletes who were prevented from fighting due to injury. This is testament to the growth, improvement and development the club has been experiencing over the past couple of years.
The Judo Club is a friendly and fun club which welcomes individuals of all experience and skill levels. With weekly Judo and fitness training sessions run by experienced coaches and students, there is a place for everyone, whether you aim to compete or do the sport recreationally. There are two teams at the University, a full-time high performance team, and a student’s club for recreational fighters. The sport is often misunderstood for a physical contact sport, but the club like to think of it as more of an art, a physical game of chess if you will as it does not include any striking. If you would like more information about the sport or the club, please either contact the club’s chair Abdelrahman Fathalla at email@example.com, or like their Facebook page, University of Bath Judo, at www.facebook.com/UOBJudo.
Photo credits: UoB Judo Club