Friday, March 5, 2010

A Proud Tradition

Last week I attended the 80th Oxford vs Cambridge University Varsity Judo match. The oldest judo team match in the world. First started in 1930, the event returned this year to the fabulous venue of Oxford Town Hall.

There is something about a team match which is far more exciting than individual tournaments. With the greatest respect to the participants, it would be fair to say that the level was not the standard of the World Championships, yet I found myself as enthralled as I had been in the Ahoy Stadium in Rotterdam last year.

Keeping to the traditional format the Men’s Team match is fought over 8 matches. This year it ended in a draw with 4 ippons each. It was decided by a random draw of 3 re-matches, with Oxford winning the fight-off by 2 matches to 1, to reclaim the Matsudaira Trophy. Congratulations to all the players involved in all the teams.

I have pasted above a photograph of the 1926 Oxford University Team with the Metropolitan Police Team. History buffs among you will identify Yukio Tani and Gunji Koizumi. The other photo is the interior of Oxford Town Hall, fantastic.

I got me thinking that we should always have judo events in iconic venues. As a sport we should try to avoid the faceless sports centre, and ply our trade in great, memorable venues. What is the most iconic venue in your town. Could you organise a judo event there?

The two Oxford Coaches, Chris and Carol Doherty have both studied the EJU Level 4 programme, with Chris graduating as an EJU Level 5 High Performance Coach. These programmes will shortly be re-launched at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. The EJU Level 3 Advanced Coach Award is attracting many new students and can be accessed through the Official EJU delivery partner, The Judospace Educational Institute.

Good luck to all the judo coaches working with their players in tournaments across the world this weekend, yours is an honourable profession, and you follow a proud tradition.

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