For me, the best judo competition of the year is the British University and Colleges Sports Championships or BUCS. You have around 25 sports competing over the week and once accredited you can go and watch whatever you want. The judo is fought on the Saturday and Sunday, individuals on the Saturday and teams on the Sunday.
One of the great things about BUCS is the variety in players, universities generally have a three year cycle so the players you see each year are always changing plus there is a lot more foreign players and every year at least one university turns up with someone special.
Last year Anglia Ruskin won the mens team event and got a gold and a silver in the individuals. of course I would love to win the mens team event again, we’ll see. For me the journey there is more interesting, last year we had to borrow white or blue belt off our opponent – how embarrassing going into the final of the team championships and having to ask your opposition (Loughborough) for belts! If nothing else we’re much better kitted out this year thanks to last years win, all players fighting in the team have two superstars fighting films kits with the uni logo embroider on it plus we have t-shirts etc
Our training has been very different too, last year we had a 2-3 week “beat up” where we intensified the training. This year we have been at a slightly lower intensity for about 8 weeks with a lot of competitions. The players have been very motivated and have bonded well. We have used video pretty affectively again.
Last year we had the British number one in the -73kg Danny Williams, he won every fight but we do not have him this year, he is in Japan preparing for London. We’ll see what affect this has.
Another development this year is that we have some women players, this is great and I am really hoping they do well.
We are at a new venue this year – Don Valley stadium. I really hope this venue is good, last year we were on the running track at the EIS and it was great. I just hope they haven’t ruined this great event by moving it somewhere poor.
So I guess we just have to wait and see, about 40 hours to the weigh in and the battle commences Saturday morning. I have looked at the teams and there are 10 on my ‘serious’ list and 4 of them go on my ‘seriously dangerous list’. Can we do better than last year? I’ll let you know