Belgium’s well-known youth event attracted teams from the Netherlands, Israel, Greece, Germany, France, Sweden, hosts Belgium and from across Great Britain but it was an impressive Welsh team which led the way in the two-day event.
The promising minor and pre-cadet squad, whose medal haul included six gold medals, earned praise from Welsh Judo’s Pathway Performance Coach Stephen Abberley who led the trip along with Welsh Judo’s Performance Operations Manager Tom Hughes and club coaches Kerry Pulvirenti (Maesteg Judokwai) and Huw Jones (EGH Judo).
Big congratulations to our young Judoka fighting in Belgium today with the welsh squad, Oli 🥇 Ben 🥉 👏🏻 @Welsh_Judo came away with 1st place for the Minors 👌🏻
Big thanks Kerry, Huw, Stephen & Tom for coaching @eghjudo @MaestegJudokwai @dragons_judo @StephenAbberley pic.twitter.com/FqpHJIUtRk
— Samurai Judo Swansea (@SamuraiJudoWAL) May 4, 2019
“As a coach watching your players fight to the best of their abilities is always a proud moment,” said former Commonwealth Championships bronze medallist Abberley.
“Top that off with 22 medals won at the Hermee Cup, it is safe to say this set of minor and pre-cadet players are going from strength to strength and have a bright future.
“The hard work started many months ago when I joined the Welsh Judo Association as the Pathway Performance Coach. The players have continued to work hard at training whilst showing commitment and determination.
“For many of these players, this was the first time they had fought abroad and represented Wales. Having had such an opportunity their eagerness to progress has only increased. We now work towards sending a strong team to the National Team Championships to be held in Scotland on July 2019. With players developing week by week the selection process is sure to be a difficult task.
Former world and European champion Craig Fallon, who recently started as Welsh Judo’s new Head of Coaching, hailed the achievements of Wales’ exciting crop of budding judoka.
“I’d like to congratulate the whole team for their performances in Belgium,” said the two-time Olympian.
“For many of these children it’s their first time traveling and fighting outside of the UK, so it can be very daunting. It looked like a fantastically positive experience for everyone involved and I’m looking forward to seeing where their hard work takes them in the future.”