British Judo has selected its team to compete in the Senior European Championships, taking place in Vienna, Austria from the 22nd-25th April.
The ten-strong team is a mixture of established players as well as some emerging younger talent.
Karina Bryant returns to the European stage in the +78kg weight category after having to withdraw last year due to injury.
The four-time European Champion is one of Britain’s most consistently successful fighters and is on top form going into the Championships, with a 2009 World Championship silver medal under her belt.
Two young emerging players, Kelly Edwards (-48kg) and Daniel Williams (-73kg), have shown positive signs progressing into the senior level.
Head Coach, Patrick Roux, says, “We do not want to apply too much pressure on the younger players in this team. This is a chance to expose them to a senior international level and give them the chance to have that experience. They are talented players who have shown their determination to allow this fast track to developing them to a senior level.”
British Judo is now moving into the transitional period of Roux’s four year plan and the concentration is on reinforcing the physical and mental condition of the players rather than aiming for medals. There is, therefore, no medal target from UK Sport.
However, Roux does expect to see some good performances from the established players, consolidating their positions and winning as many fights as possible.
“I expect to see some consistent performances and much of the same good results from the team as they have recently produced. The men did well at the Prague World Cup in February and so did the women at the GB world Cup and the Minsk World Cup at the end of 2009,” says Roux.
Roux has adopted a different style of training, combining athletic strength and conditioning and judo specific, with the target to integrate these components at competition.
“We try to offer the players the best possible environments to prepare for these Championships, they have been out in Japan for a two week training camp and final preparations will take place at Dartford alongside the Russian men’s squad at an EJU training camp. The players are very enthusiastic and committed, and I can see we are really moving into the transitional period now,” Roux said.
In the women’s competition are Faith Pitman (-63kg), Sally Conway (-70kg) and Samantha Lowe (-78kg).
Notably absent from the selection is three-time European medallist Sarah Clark in the -57kg weight category. Clark is taking it easy after a recurring elbow injury sustained at the Minsk World Cup last year and allow for full recovery for the World Championships in September.
Name Club Hometown
-60kg James Millar Edinburgh Judo Club Edinburgh
-66kg Colin Oates Kumo Judo Club Norwich
-73kg Daniel Williams Camberly Judo Club Shrewsbury
-81kg Euan Burton Edinburgh Judo Club Edinburgh
-90kg Matthew Purssey Edinburgh JC/Pinewood Chobham
-48kg Kelly Edwards Wrekin Star Judo Club Telford
-63kg Faith Pitman West Essex Judo Club Todmorden
-70kg Sally Conway Edinburgh Judo Club Bristol
-78kg Samantha Lowe Camberley Judo Club Woking
+78kg Karina Bryant Camberley Judo Club Aldershot
– but the sailors praise the new boats