TWO of Garioch Judo’s leading members returned from the British Junior Championships last week with a Gold and Bronze Medal.
Helen Forbes was attending her fifth British Championships and the 17 year-old medical student came home with the gold medal, while 15 year-old Stuart McWatt, competing in the Under 20s event secured a very impressive bronze medal. Perhaps more importantly for the country’s youngest black belt it helped him with his national ranking points, and he is hoping it will go towards getting number one spot for selection for the Cadet European Judo Championships which are held in Tallinn, Estonia this June .
The two were accompanied to Sheffield by their coach Stuart McWatt senior, Garioch Judo’s head coach and Judo Scotland’s North East Performance Coach. Stuart commented, “While I was really pleased with my own son’s performance against tough opposition and delighted he medalled, I was absolutely delighted with Helen’s performance and to have a British Champion is fantastic for Garioch Judo.
“With Helen now studying in Edinburgh we don’t see quite as much of her but its clear that she is continuing to train very hard and is continuing her development in the sport. Its also worth mentioning that both Helen and Stuart have been selected for the Junior British squad for 2013 which will involve a bit more additional training but certainly opens up other opportunities with the British squad.
Stuart (junior) had two trips to Sheffield sandwiched in between prelims for his Standard Grades and was delighted with bronze in the Juniors. He said, “The competition was really tough and I wanted to get a fifth place at worst so I have to be happy with a bronze and also the ranking points that brings.”
Helen was back home at the weekend for the Northern Area Squad Training at Garioch Sports Centre and her first chance to catch up with team mates since Sheffield.
Asked about her recent success, Helen said, “It didn’t really sink in on the day and I ‘m still amazed that I’m British Champion. I have been doing judo half of my life and previously I have had a bronze and a fifth place at the British.
“In the semi-final I came up against my main opponent who’s also Scottish and I was really nervous beforehand but managed to win through. I now have some European competitions to look forward to with a trip to Portugal in March and Northern Italy in April which will help broaden my experience.
“I have been training out of Ratho quite a lot as well as with an Edinburgh Club and it means mixing daily with judo Olympians and some of the top Judo players.”
Helen added, “I still get together with Garioch Judo whenever I am home. I’m based in Edinburgh now studying medical science.” She joked, “I’m hoping maybe to go into physiotherapy , especially given that with all my injuries in judo I’m pretty familiar with hospitals and medical staff!”