This weekends British Open was held at the Grand Burstin Hotel in Folkestone in Kent. With several teams from around the UK including Liverpool, Newcastle, Cheshire and Portsmouth as well as teams from Holland and Ghana the attendance was good and the atmosphere electric. After the long journey down and arriving late due to traffic we were all tired still the next morning but after weight in it was time to refuel and warm up. After a small Juniors catagory the Masters were on with some fantastic fights. Paul Holligan who was in his first competition drew Georgie Georgiev in his first match and although he put up a good fight he lost on points to the more experienced Cheshire Sambo Master. One of the best fights in the Masters division was the 2 fights won by Brian Lister who showed his experience and high standards even after 17 years away from competition he displayed some excellent skills! In his first competition Radoslaw Gacki proved he was more than game and gave it his all but unfortunatly lost to a much more experienced opponent. Michael Mc Kittrick went on to win silver in both the under 68kg Masters division and under 74kg senior mens division, michael has been a constistant member of the club for a while and it showed in his fights with him demonstrating excellent control of his opponents to take the silver in both divisions. John McArdle again fighting in his first Sambo competition had some tough fights but was pipped at the post for a medal.
In the mens under 90kg catagory Paul Rogers had some very hard fights and just missed out on a medal but demonstrated his trade mark blast double and pinned his opponent with 8 points clear! this young fighter is one to watch in the future! James rogers stormed home to the Gold medal in this catagory taking all his fights in under a minute and demonstrating his versatility and tenacity by winning every fight by a different leg lock each time including a kneebar win over the very tough and experienced Tom Nicholson from Cheshire Sambo!
Another excellent performance this year by Billy Wilsher as expected also with all his fights won by submission including one by flying armbar, this young fighter shows amazing spirit and tenacity and has consistantly proved he is deserving of the title not only of Sambist but of British Champion.
All in all everyone fought hard and enjoyed the day immensely and cant wait to fight again. As a coach I can only say that the day was in the main amazing and seeing my fighters try so hard and enjoy their fights was the best feeling in the world.
Sambo truely is life.