SAMURAI Judo Club finished the year with its annual awards evening.

The awards, held at Gilt Edge Leisure Centre, were as usual split into some selected by the coaches’ panel, and some voted for by the club membership.

The three most prestigious awards were the Rod Lane Award for sporting attitude, which went to Jake Ashen, the best performance award, which went to Loic Keasey, for his performance in Holland at the Breda Open, where there were nearly thirty players in his category, some much heavier than himself, and he still won the silver medal; and the overall voted player of the year, which went to Olivia Turner for the third year in succession.

Turner herself felt it was time for somebody else to get it and sportingly campaigned for others; in the end Ashen won that as well.

In the coaches awards, Rob Alloway and Jake Ashen took the award jointly, Rob for his sensational Uchimata Sukashi that helped the Great Britain Team win the bronze play-off against Spain in the European Masters Championships, and Jake Ashen for his spectacular and ingenious throw which gave him the gold medal at the Vlissingen Open in Holland. Jake’s throw was so different that experts have not been able to put a name to it. Charis Hancocks came third, with a superb O Soto Gari at the Kent International.

Best Young Junior was Nick Ashen, with Archie Minkin close behind. Best Junior Beginner was Sophie Davis, Best Intermediate Junior was Katy Jennings, Best Training Partnership was Ellie McAteer and Cerys Jones and Best Parent Player was Mark Allen.

Contest of the Year was again from the Breda Open in Holland, where Jack Walker came up against Martin Allen for the bronze medal for the second day running; it was a great contest both for skill and sportsmanship. Jack won that contest, but Martin also won Best Groundwork from the same competition.

Best Referee Award from the coaches went to Lucas Kent, whilst Best Kata Award went to Olivia Turner and Rob Alloway for their performance at the European SN Championships in Amsterdam.

The Best Team Award went to ‘Ellie’s Team’ at the Bev Teams, made up of Jake Ashen, Jack Walker and guest player Eryk Neumann. Runners-up were last year’s winners, the veterans team of Mike Chamberlain, Matt Dutton and Martin Brown, who won gold at the prestigious masters section of the same competition.

The club committee chose Mark Walker for the Volunteer Award. Olivia Turner took a clean sweep of the three statistical awards, for most medals won, most national and international medals won and highest attendance.

No less than thirty individual performances at events were nominated for best performance.

Loic won it, with Jake Ashen second for his gold medal performance in Holland, Leah Grosvenor was third for the six wins which gave her bronze at the Spanish Cadet European Cup, Gary Knight fourth for his gold medal-winning performance at the British Masters, and Charis Hancocks fifth for the Kent International Open.

The voted awards, where all the club membership votes, saw Jake Ashen win Junior Male Player of the Year, with James Harrison; Sophie Davis won the Junior Female award with Cerys Jones second, Mike Chamberlain took the Senior Male Player with Gary Knight second, and Olivia took Senior Female with Leah Grosvenor second. Jake, as already mentioned, edged Olivia out for Overall Best Player.

Martin Allen and Josh Walker were jointly voted Most Improved Player, Sophie Davis edged out Max Baker as Beginner of the Year and also took the Most Hard-Working Player award. Mark Allen and Greg McAteer were jointly voted Best Volunteer, whilst Olivia Turner was voted Best Senior Referee/Official and Jake Ashen Best Junior Referee/Official.

For details about starting judo, call 0776 1122977 or visit the Samurai website or the club’s Facebook page.