MORE than a hundred players from 20 different clubs competed in the Samurai Mini-Me Open, an event for newer players.

Samurai Judo Club fielded seven players, all of whom took medals including two golds.

In the boys' event, first up to compete was Edward Martin. He started well with a throw and then a hold to defeat a higher grade from Leicester, then had a narrower win by a single score against a Cannock player.

Another throw into a hold finished off a Macclesfield player to put him into the final against a Birmingham opponent.

Unfortunately this time he was caught by a good throw and had to settle for silver.

Joel Haywood was next up in the weight category above Edward. He fought very well and was unlucky to lose to a Welsh player in his semi-final, but then had a technical win against a Solihull player to win his bronze medal.

Lathan Spackman was the last of the three Samurai boys to compete.

His speciality seems to be counter throws and he used these to good effect on players from Builth Wells and Birmingham, scoring maximum point wins against each to reach the final of his category. He was up against a Wolverhampton player who had stormed into the final with little resistance, but Lathan worked the same throw again just a minute into the contest to gain another maximum score and the gold medal in only his second competition.

Samurai had three girls making their competition debuts, though unfortunately all in the same category.

However, all three make a very impressive start to their judo careers. Megan Burford just stormed through the one quarter of the draw with three excellent wins to reach the semi-final, whilst Hannah Palmer was also doing far better than would be expected from a player of her experience to also reach the semi-final, and Sophia Rose, an exceptional talent, just cruised through her first three opponents to also reach the semi-final.

After a very close battle, Hannah lost her semi-final against a Welsh girl, whilst Megan gave Sophia a good contest before Sophia gained another maximum point throw to reach the final.

Megan and Hannah went on to win well-deserved bronze medals, whilst Sophia swept easily past the Welsh girl in the final to take the gold medal.

Last up was Olivia Leung. Still only in her second competition, Olivia is already noted for her determined attitude and this served her well against some older and bigger girls. She reached the semi-final before losing to a girl from Newbury in Buckinghamshire, but then came back to beat a Worcester girl with a very good throw to win the bronze.

All of these players attend the Samurai’s Friday night beginners section, which has a 5.45pm-6.45pm class for 6 - 8 year olds with coaches Sue Hancocks and Jess Sullivan, and a 6.45pm - 8pm session for 9 - 13 year-olds with coaches Ali Lane, Mike Chamberlain and Mark Allen.

Both sessions do have vacancies for newcomers. For details call 0776 1122977 or visit the Samurai website on or the club's Facebook page.