A Vale Judo player has capped an incredibly successful time for the club at the national championships by winning gold.
Daniel Bennett was competing in the tough under-18 u81kg category but fought his way through to the final with an impressive display of judo tactics and techniques.
Bennett dominated the final contest in front of a large number of spectators and convincingly won the title of National Champion by throwing his opponent for a full score.
He was one of nine members of Vale Judo’s competition squad who were in action at in the biggest competition of the year for juniors.
Also competing in the under-18s category was James Reseigh, Igor Levitin, Sofia Palmer and Alex Cutforth.
Reseigh competed successfully for the first time in this age category in the u42kg group by progressing from his pool to the medal knockouts and came away with a hard-earned bronze medal.
Levitin competed in the u73kg category but failed to progress to the medal knockouts having lost his second contest to a strangle.
Palmer and Cutforth fought in the large u63kg girls category. Cutforth had a tough draw against seeded players and failed to progress to the medal knockouts despite working hard and showing progress. Palmer started the day well by winning with convincing throws and progressed to the last 10 girls in the medal knockouts but had to settle for a ninth place this time round.
In the Under-15s category there were three girls from the Oakham based club fighting hard to justify gaining places on the England Squad.
First on the mat was Mary Tomblin competing for the first time in this national event in the u44kg category. Despite fighting hard she narrowly lost two contests, but gained good experience.
Next up were Holly Woolman-Lane and Bryony Cutforth competing in the very competitive u57kg category. Both girls fought hard to win through to the bronze medals fight-offs with Cutforth gaining a bronze medal and Woolman-Lane having to settle for a fifth place finish this time round.
Ryan Doyle competed in the u50kg category for the first time, in a large group of 24 boys which included several current England Squad members.
Doyle lost his first contest but recovered well to win his next with a well-timed foot sweep against a squad player. A loss in the next contest meant he was unable to progress to the bronze medal knockout.
Overall it was brilliant championships for Vale Judo, which is now the biggest judo club located in the East Midlands and has its main dojo at Oakham Enterprise Park near Oakham and several satellite clubs located in surrounding towns.
The club has over 220 members comprising juniors and seniors, girls and boys and has been granted the Sport England club mark award.
More information on the club can be found at www.valejudoschools.co.uk.