Saints Judo sweep competitors off their feet at SSS Kyu Grade Competition
As dawn struck on Saturday morning, the University of St Andrews judo team made their way down to Glasgow Caledonian University to compete in the SSS Kyu Grade competition. After a great day of judo, the team of five took home 4 medals.
This marked the first competition of the season for St Andrews Judo team – and for some, their very first competition. The team was composed of students across a range of abilities, all brimming with anticipation for the day of fighting which followed. After a nerve-wracking weigh-in, the team had a quick breakfast before talking strategy.
Up first in the morning were the 4th kyu – 2nd kyu competitors Gaspar Stempel and Milun Haggipavlou. Gaspar, being an unstoppable force to be reckoned with, used his strength and lethal throws to fend off competitors. Fight after fight he only gained energy, building up to a tense final which resulted in a majestic throw which landed him with a gold medal. Simultaneously with Gaspar, Milun Haggipavlou embarked on his own judo journey. Though initially less energetic, after a quick power nap he was raring to go. Met with his own challenging competitors, some of whom got a good throw or two in, Milun fought hard and his love of Hari-goshi managed to secure him a silver medal.
After a short afternoon break, novice competition took over. Competing was Phuong Thao Do, Daniel Kleinjan and Fredrik Hasselgren. The first highlight of the afternoon came from Thao. She set herself to a high standard, displaying fierce and exact judo techniques that rivalled her regular, sunny disposition. Her skills served her well as she also secured a silver medal.
As the afternoon progressed Daniel Kleinjan took centre stage. Despite an unfortunate start, resulting in disqualification from his first fight due to a head dive, Daniel quickly recovered, leaving a trail of disheartened and fallen opponents behind him. Not one opponent was able to throw Daniel and this impressive display of judo earned him a gold medal.
Let us also not forget those who made the trip possible; Luke Laverty who got us to the event in impressive time with driving skills almost as good as his judo and Jane Lawson, our beloved captain who was there on the side-lines of every fight, providing us with motivation and insight.