Tonbridge Judo Club's Katie-Jemima Yeats-Brown led the way for Britain as
she claimed the -63kg European Cadet Championship title, one of Britain's
three medals at the continental showpiece in Cottonera, Malta, on Saturday.
The 15-year-old standout, who only started judo three years ago, won all
four fights in convincing fashion to take Britain's first gold medal at the
event since 2005.
Katie-Jemima started her majestic run to the -63kg title by defeating
Croatia's Ivona Kapitanovic after following a yuko with an ippon score.
The fast-rising youngster swept past Poland's Urszula Hoffman by a
significant margin of three yuko and two waza-ari scores.
In the semi-final France's Lisa Marchese was dispatched via ippon to produce
a final against Slovenian Patricija Brolih who had won all three of her
bouts by ippon.
Without having a single point scored against her in the whole tournament,
Katie-Jemima sealed the most significant win of her career in style as she
claimed the European crown by ippon.
After stepping off the medal rostrum Katie said: "I'm so pleased, it's
awesome to win the title. The first fight was the hardest and then I got
into 'Mima Zone'.
"One of the things that helped me was having England Squad coach Jamie
Johnson coaching me who I feel safe with and supported by when my club coach
Chris Bowles isn't there.
"I've gained more international experience this year as Chris Bowles and
Tonbridge Judo Club have given me some excellent opportunities to experience
European judo and that's really helped me improve."
Katie-Jemima's proud mum Joanna, herself a 2nd Dan, said: "We were
absolutely thrilled with Katie's win on Saturday.
"Although I was there I couldn't watch as I get too nervous, but Katie's
sister and one of her brothers were both watching along with her club coach.
"As a parent I would like to thank Chris for everything he has done in
coaching and supporting her way beyond the call of duty and the British Judo
Association for supporting her for these last two years and believing in
Elsewhere Lucy Renshall took silver while Hayley Willis claimed bronze.
Prisca Awiti-Alcaraz finished a respectable seventh.
Trevor Sitlinton, Head of the Delegation, said: "We're delighted with the
players; this is our best result at the event since 2005.
"Katie-Jemima did brilliantly to win gold; she won every contest by some
margin and Lucy along with Hayley were very impressive.
"There were 39 countries in action and nearly 400 judoka for a top level
European event and we finished sixth in the medal table so we're very
pleased with our results."
photos Janos Schmidt