Nine judoka travelled to Follonica in Italy last weekend, to compete in the CSEN National Championships.

The Centro Sportivo Educativo Nazzionale is an association based in Italy, with over 1,300,000 members. One of its aims is to contribute to the development of sport and sport disciplines. The Malta Judo Federation is a member, and can therefore contest the National Championships.

As Isaac Bezzina just came back from the Commonwealth Championships, where he won the silver medal, and Jeremy Saywell was indisposed due to personal reasons, the Malta Judo Federation convoked its young and upcoming team to this event, who were accompanied by the Youth Director, Joseph Castillo, and the new coach, Denis Braidotti.

The girls were without doubt the Maltese stars at this event.The young fourteen-year olds, Kirsty Cauchi and Estelle Camilleri, a student of the National Sport School, contested the -52 kgs Espoir Category. Apart from being best friends off the mat, they are eachother’s biggest opponents on the mat, having competed for the title in their weight cateogry for umpteenth times.

After sending in the air their italian oppponents with beautiful tachi waza (standing techniques), they met in the final match. As in all their direct duels even in Malta, the contest went into golden score (supplementary time). This time it was the turn of Kirsty to step on the highest podium, after she surprised Estelle, and threw her for Wazari (1 point), which was enough to close the contest. Thus, Kirsty won the gold medal, with Estelle winning the silver medal.

Katryna Esposito won her bronze medal in the Under 23 – 52 kgs. She beat convincingly her Italian opponent, first by scoring a wazari (point) with a standing technique, and pinned her opponent on the floor until the time of osaekomi (hold down) was up, thus winning with an Ippon (full points).

Unfortunately, even if Katryna gave a tough contest to her second opponent, she was thrown in the last seconds of the contest, thus losing the opportunity to continue fighting for gold. As the coaches said, if Katryna continues in this path, she will surely be in the golden zone.

Lara Castillo made her debut in the new category of Under 23 – 57 kgs. Being the lightest in the group she struggled a little, and even if she gave a courageous fight to both the opponents, she didn’t manage to beat them.

The male squad was composed of Espoir Kris Samuel Bartolo who competed in the – 46 kgs; Espoir Raphael Cassar who competed in the -60 kgs for the first time abroad; and Junior Jonathan Gatt who competed in the U23 -60 kgs.

Francesco Aufieri, who competed in the U23 -90kgs, won silver after he elininated 2 opponents, but unfortunately succombed to the last opponent in the final match. In the Senior -90kgs, Francesco beat his first opponent, but regrettably, he didn’t make it to the medal zone.

Luca Montebello made his debut in the -90kgs, having previously fought in the +100kgs and -100kgs. The strategy of the contest was totally different, but even though Luca struggled a litte, he went on to win the bronze medal.

As Sensei Castillo quoted in his report, “The above-mentioned athletes fought with determination unsettling their opponents with continuous attacks.”

The Malta Judo Federation will be closing her competitive calendar this weekend, with its National Championships.

These will be held on Sunday 9th at 12:00hrs at the Malta Judo National Dojo. Before the competitive part of the event, the traditional children festival will start at 10:00hrs.
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Monday, December 17, 2018
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