Nathan and Josh’s performances at their recent international events follow:
- Tbilisi (Georgia) Grand Slam (26th March). Josh’s first match was Nurillaev (UZB) who ended up winning the Silver medal. Although down a Waza-Ari early in the match, Josh put so much pressure on UZB that he forced 2 Shidos on his opponent. Near full-time, Nurillaev clearly stepped off the mat to avoid Josh’s attacks but the third Shido was not given. Unfortunately Nathan landed in Georgia with a very bad Gastro bug and although he made the weigh-in, he was too ill to compete 3 days later on the day of competition.
- Antalya (Turkey) Grand Slam (1st April). Josh had 2 good wins against opponents Calle (Peru) and Dhouibi (Tunisia). With a big heart and some solid grinding by Josh, he won by Ippon in Ne-Waza (ground work) against Peru and against Tunisia, after conceding Waza-Ari, managed to get a Waza-Ari himself going into Golden Score, then forcing the third Shido for the win. In the Round of 16 he drew Khyar (FRA) a World ranked top 20 athlete who won in Ne-Waza (groundwork). In this competition Nathan lost to Nurkovic (Montenegro) by Shidos. There was some strong grip fighting and some Seoi attacks, but in this first match since January was just behind the pace. That said, the referee was also pretty tough on the penalties.
- Asian Oceania Continental Championships in Bishkek Kyrgyzstan (6April). To say that we were proud of the boys in stringing together some great wins to make the final block and both fight for Bronze medals, would be a massive understatement. 5th places at this event equals Nathan’s best past performance and eclipses Josh’s best past performance, in particular defeating a World Top 10 opponent in the process. Josh defeated Mahfod (SYR) by Shime-Waza (strangle) and World Top 10 Kyrgyzbayev (KAZ) with wonderful Ashi-Waza (leg technique) for Ippon before losing to World Top 8 Yang (TPE) in Ne-Waza. In repechage he drew World #2 Smetov (KAZ) who withdrew after an epic 14 minute Quarter final. For Bronze, Josh fought World #22 Lee (KOR) which he lost in a well-fought match by Waza-Ari, in the process forcing 2 Shidos on Lee.
Nathan had a first round bye and then drew Salamat Uulu (KGZ) who he defeated by Waza-Ari from spinning Tai-Otoshi. His Quarter Final was against World #26 Zhumakanov (KAZ) who he lost to by 2 Waza-Aris. In repechage against Gayradov (TKM) Nathan won by Ippon with great transition and Shime-Waza (strangle). For Bronze against World #11 Kim (KOR), Nathan had another good match but was 2 Shidos down with a minute to go. In the next exchange he was clearly pushed out but the Shido was given to him. A great effort by both boys showing world-class performances.