On the up…..

It’s a long time since I last posted to my blog, unfortunately I have had a lot of marking and admin to complete recently. I did want to write a quick post though about the Miami Grand Prix last weekend. I watched this online despite it being quite late here in the UK and me coaching children both days. Whilst watching it I couldn’t help but think British judo is performing much better than before, I thought i’d have a look….

In the 2008-2012 Olympic cycle Great Britain won the following Grand Prix medals-

  • Dusseldorf 2012 – Euan Burton (Silver)
  •  Amsterdam 2011 -Sophie Cox & Karina Bryant (Bronze)
  • Quindao 2011 –  Karina Bryant (Bronze)
  •  Baku 2012 – Gemma Howell (Bronze)

That is just one silver and four bronze over a four year period (this is only Grand slams!). Maybe I have missed a few? Anyway bring on 2012 (post London & 2013 (up until June) and already we have won –

  • Dusseldorf 2012 – Gemma Gibbons (Gold)
  • Quindao 2012 – Gemma Howell (Bronze)
  • Miami 2013 – Tom Reed (Gold), Natalie Powell & Asley McKenzie (Bronze)
  • Samsun 2013 – Sally Conway (Gold), Chris Sherrington & Natalie Powell (Bronze)

That’s three golds and five bronzes! So in less than half an Olympic cycle we have produced a better performance at Grand prix events than the entire previous Olympic cycle – not bad 🙂

Of course the real question is why? The truth is we don’t know. Of course we could speculate – less politics for the players to deal with, a more British set up, players felling okay about training where they want to train. It is early days and this is only looking at Grand prix results but what I would say, as we find a new performance team taking charge, is rather than try to change the course of what is already happening maybe we should put our effort into making it work even better. Try moving it “fast, higher, stronger” in the direction it is going rather than trying to change course entirely! Surely this would be more inline with the principles of seiryoku zenyō.





June 23, 2013 · 5:16 pm

8 responses to “On the up…..

  1. Mahana

    Interesting points Bob. It must be noted though that the British squad didn’t really compete in any World Cup and above level tournaments for the first two years of the 2008-2012 cycle. Also, the first two years of any Olympic cycle tend to see lower levels at events than the second two years, for various reasons.

    Lets hope the players can continue performing at this level in the build up to Rio.

    • Hi Mahana,

      I agree there was a policy about a “foundation year” (which turned into three years!) and part of the issue was players not being sent.

      I also agree the first half of the Olympic cycle is easier but those years are included in the 2088-12 cycle too.

      • Mahana

        Yes they were in the cycle, but if the players weren’t being sent they couldn’t get medals.. In any case we can see that things are moving in the right direction!

        Liking your blog by the way, don’t often have time to comment though 🙂

  2. Donna Richardson

    Hi Judo Bob, this is very interesting. I would like to use this figures if I may and push it out through our channels.

    • Of course you can if you want but I would check them first! And like others have commented here and on FB there are many reasons this could be.

      My point is more about not making lots of changes now things are going okay than the fact we MIGHT be improving.

  3. Good points Bob. Sadly, because we had 14 places at London 2012 as the host nation, it was felt by the then team’s management that there was no need to send players to the high ranking events. It was not until early 2011 that they realised the need to accrue points for ranking positions and an attempt to catch-up was made. This, of course, led to Ashley McKenzie meeting the World number two, Hiroaki Hiraoka, in his first contest and being beaten. Hiraoka then went on to take the gold medal. All the other British players were in a similar position and it was only Gemma Gibbon’s extraordinary determination that beat two high ranking former World champions to reach the final. We now have no automatic places in Rio and have to qualify on the basis of ranking points.

  4. Sorry, Hiraoka took the silver medal.

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