Bronze for Judo Beginner!

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Tuesday 5 March 2024

Caitriona Hastings won a Bronze Medal at the Judo BUCS Nationals Championship in the women’s U70kg category.

Six competitors from the University of St Andrews Judo Club travelled down to Wolsol including Cat. The team travelled with Glasgow University Judo club to BUCS, which gave them all time to get to know each other and discuss all things Judo! Other BUCS Judo competitors were- travelling from Oxford Brooks, Northumbria and Liverpool.

Cat had not practiced judo before coming to university, but about two years ago she decided to go to one of the clubs ‘give it a go’ sessions held in the first few weeks of term. Cat remembers how exciting and cool she found the sport was because of how effective it is. She remembers being about to lift her 80kg partner at the first session despite being around 60kg at the time. From then on, she was committed to training and the excellent coaching which allowed her to steadily improve my skills over time.

Cat said, “Judo is such a fun sport, it reminds me of being a kid again wrestling about on the ground, and there is a friendly atmosphere in the club. The club is also becoming more and more competition focused, which I enjoy.”

From then Cat was nervous about competing at her first BUCS Nationals but it didn’t stop her from aiming for the medal table.

Cat comments on her time at the competition as “I was very nervous to be competing at a high-level competition, and my category was at the end of the day, so I cheered everyone else on before going up. My category was small, but the competition was fierce, the women’s U70kg is just in the balance of fast and strong judo. I had three fights, one of which I won with a counter-throw called tani-otoshi (valley drop) earning me the bronze medal. I’ve being working on that throw for a while now in training, and so I was delighted to pull it off in competition despite my nerves. The competition was a super fun experience, and I would definitely recommend other people to go compete!”

After the competition the team went for curry and had a night out, and the following morning they all ventured to the Ninja Warrior obstacle course in Wolsol before travelling back with the Glasgow team.

Other members of the Saints Judo team were also competing including Sophie McNeil, who is on an all-round excellent judoka and on the Scotland National Squad. Sophie is a blackbelt and also coaches the Judo team at Saints Sport. Sophie won two of her fights but was unable to win a medal since her category was larger. Saints Judo member Sam Fowler, a brown-belt (which is the second highest below black), won one of his fights with an impressive throw called uranage (suplex side slam!).

Congratulations to Cat for this amazing achievement. It is a proud moment for the UStA Judo Team!!  

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