ON THE Queen's Birthday long weekend six Katherine Judo Club players travelled to Wollongong NSW for this years Australian Judo Nationals 2012.
Out of the six players, we had Sami Bawi, Emily Gleesen and Chung Pham going to there very first ever Nationals, with Will Hayes attending his second, Hayley Glass attending her fourth and Stevie Kelly with the most experience National player we have at our club.
We went down to the Nationals with no coach, only a team manager but with lots of family support with us in Wollongong.
On the Friday afternoon Chung Pham, Jasmine and Hayley Glass got to meet and training with past and present Australian Olympicians Judo Players.
This was a great experience for our players to meet and greet other players and experience a high level of training.
They also got to challenge their current and past Olypician in a fight.
Afterwards they received signed posters and shirts for participating in special training session every at the Australian Judo Nationals.
On Saturday we watched the Senior Judo players, with loads of experience, talent and knowledge in the sport of judo.
On Sunday we had Chung Pham fighting in Young Men's and Stevie Kelly fighting in Senior Women's and Young Women's.
With lots of nerves running with Chung first never Nationals, Chung received a shoulder injury in his first fight but came back very strong in his second fight. Well done.
With no match practice but very fit after returning back from Melbourne to Katherine,Stevie has done us proud again bring home a Bronze Medal.
Other player cheering so loud and proud of our very own Katherine players.
On Saturday afternoon the other players had to weigh in with two changes in divisions, additional division and the players getting more excited about the next day.
Monday had arrived with lots of nerves from parents and players, Lots of questions, answers, motions running high , running up and down keeping parents informed on there child's next fight.
Emily Gleesen was the first to fight at the tournament.
Emily had fought well but was beaten. Emily was given a second change winning her second fight, take her through to the bronze medal fight and winning with confidence.
Next fight was Sami Bawi, Sami had just returned to Judo a week before heading to Wollongong, as he broke his foot at a judo tournament in Darwin four weeks before hand. Sami fought his best at the National with his injured foot. Well done Sami you are differently decided to Judo mate.
The biggest surprise of them all was Will Hayes, we narrowly missing out on the Gold medal flight, claiming silver after winning his semi finally fight with a an unbelievable three second left on the clock and winning with a brilliant throw.
Hayley Glass domain acted all her fights but lost the gold medal fight with only seconds left on the clock, again winning her semi final with a beautiful throw.
If was one of Hayley' s best Nationals ever with alot more confidence, excellent technic and coming home with a Silver Medal.
Hayley also went on to receive silver in a special division Australian Judo Youth Olympics selection team. Hayley has two more Open and international judo tournaments in Sydney and Victoria late on, in the year.
Hayley needs to be in the top two in Australia for her division to be able to be selected in Australian Youth Olympicians Team for next year.
Our national players and myself, as the Team Manger would like to thank Max and June King for their continued support.