GARIOCH Judo Club, which has more than 100 members, has had a golden autumn with successes in both the Scottish and British Championships over the last six weeks and in the Scottish Open last weekend. With around 20 adults , 20 youths and 60 children operating in Inverurie and Oldmeldrum, Head Coach Stuart McWatt, who has been with the club for 15 years, has plans for the club to establish two more bases in Alford and Mintlaw early next year to capitalise on the success of their current members and to bring Judo to some new recruits following successes in London 2012.
Stuart said: “We always welcome new members on our club nights which are generally Sunday and Wednesday and we start with youngsters from 5 years of age.
“Our squad players who are involved in competition do additional training on Monday and Fridays and our elite players may do extra training particularly in strength and conditioning in preparation for major competitions but in general terms we have classes to suit all age ranges and all abilities.”
Stuart added “We are trying to guide players to develop - in flexibility, in fitness, in pure technique, in competitive skills and as people – by supporting each other in rising to these challenges”
This year the club has had considerable success in competition at both the Scottish and British level.
In the Scottish Championships Golds went to Murray Wood -38kg Liam Aitken -38 kg Shannon Reid -57kg Olivia Reid -36kg and Morgan Macdonald -50kg . Silver Medals went to James Littler -60kg Nordin Adrif -38kg Lewis Mark -34kg and Bronze medals for Andrew McWatt -46kg Fergus Mcfarlane -60kg and Ross Mark -60kg
In the British Championships held in Sheffield earlier this month Stuart Mcwatt Junior became British Champion at under 66kg gold. There were Bronzes for Murray wood -38kg . Lewis mark -34kg Olivia Reid -36kg and Helen Forbes. James littler was squeezed out of a medal position despite winning 3 and losing 2 .
Last weekend saw 4 entrants at the Scottish Open at Ravenscraig where Helen Forbes won Gold and Stuart McWatt Junior a Bronze while James Littler and Shannon Reid gained valuable experience in what was an international field.
Head Coach Stuart said: “Judo in Scotland is very strong at the moment and if you look at the Olympic team one third of them train out of Ratho evidencing that the Scottish set up is very good. We have a few up and coming players that are showing good potential.
“I have been helping as North East Performance Coach for the last 3 years and all those who are seen as needing extra training will come through the performance pathway and we will help give advice and set up programs to help their journey to next level . I can take them to a certain level and then if they have the potential to go further in the sport they would have to go for full time training at our national dojo in Ratho near Edinburgh.”
The club has a Meet the Olympians day coming up at the Garioch Sports Centre when its athletes will interact with young players and it is also open to people who have never done the sport and just want to come and see what it is about. Anyone interested should come along on Sunday, November 11 from 1-4pm and all will be made welcome.