The Sapper Judo team has swelled in numbers this year with over 50 active judoka (judo players) now on our books. On behalf of the Chairman of Sapper Judo, Lt Col Joe Fossey, I have great pleasure in informing our primary sponsors HELYX of the success of Corps members in judo events this year.
Training throughout the year paid dividends as the Sapper Judo team won a total of 22 medals at the recent Army Judo Championships held at Shrivenham, including the retention of the coveted Army Judo Team Champions title. Individual black belt titles went to Cpl Hami Hamilton (U60kgs) and Lt Alex Paske (U78kgs) with our novices winning the U73kgs (Spr Glynn), O100kgs (Spr Warren Sayers and Spr David Ojale), U100kgs (OCdt Mike Frake), and the U78kgs female title (Spr Letia Smith). Of particular note Spr Sean Claffey won the Spirit of Judo Award and Lt Alex Paske won the Players Player of the Tournament.
Eight Sappers represented the Army two weeks later in the Inter Services competition and won 12 medals between them. Lt Alex Paske (U78kgs) and Spr Craig Hutchinson fighting two weights above in the Under 90kgs category retained their Combined Services titles. It is anticipated that both players will be selected for the Combined Services team which will fight at National level in early 2015.
Sappers also gave up their own time to fight against civilian judo clubs in a recent Help 4 Heroes Charity event in Chatham and came away with 6 medals, WO2 Jon Chesney our only winner in the U90kgs category.
In summary Sapper Judo remains the envy of the other Cap Badges and Arms within the Army and the services. Financial support and backing from Helyx has allowed us to purchase individual training equipment for its players, and pay towards entry fees and travel costs throughout the year. Such backing has increased the appeal of the sport for sappers of all ranks, ages, experience and gender, for that we are extremely grateful.