As always I am writing this blog from my usual spot 10,000 metres in the air, a lot has changed from my last installment but one thing remains constant and that is living out of a suitcase.
December is the one month of the year where I get to spend the majority of my time at my training base in Bath, this is a nice respite from so much travel although the joy is short lived as an intense conditioning block had me training three times a day and running so much I could consider a change of sport (not that I intend to). This coupled with trying to spend time with loved ones and a looming paper due on the 7th January means the hard work doesn’t stop, but I love what I do and really enjoy learning the science behind my training plan (I’m studying a MSC in Strength and Conditioning).
January always comes too soon and this usually means one of the most pressured competitions of the year, the British trials. The feeling of fighting home country players, mostly daily training partners and rivals on the international circuit makes for a tense day for everyone. This year I was fighting very well and feeling the benefits of increased confidence and conditioning, I won 6 of my 7 fights by the maximum points (Ippon) and only lost on a small score to an old rival in the final. I was winning the final match and just about coping with the pressure that only Matt Purssey can provide, until around 40 seconds left and he committed to a throw and I tried to counter only to end on my side for a half point meaning he won the fight. In hindsight, it was a good performance but still shows I have big improvements to make psychologically.
I am on a flight returning from the first and one of the notoriously toughest World cups of the year in Tbilisi, Georgia. The crowds are crazy and passionate about Judo, and I’ve hear some stories about lights going out and referees who give bad decisions suddenly going missing. So as you can imagine, fighting a Georgian to get into the Semi-final was quite an experience for me. I came away from this tournament with a well deserved 7th Place knowing it could have been a medal, but is still my best result at this World Cup to date and moves me higher up the World Rankings so it isn’t all doom and gloom.
Next up is BUCS where I intend to win the Gold for UEL who have been so helpful to me in supporting both my academic and sporting ambitions and I would love to repay that support with a gold medal and some healthy BUCS points. Then it’s off on the road again with trips to Germany, Poland, Argentina, Uruguay, Hungary and USA over the next coming months so hopefully be writing my next installment having more good news to share.