Fantastic Francombe sweeps to national gold at Hereford

PUBLISHED: 13:20 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 14:40 12 May 2010

ANOTHER national title came to the JM Judo Club in Hereford at the weekend, with a magnificent victory for diminutive nine-year-old Kristofer Francombe. For the first time, the British Judo Council events committee segregated the eight and nine year old e

ANOTHER national title came to the JM Judo Club in Hereford at the weekend, with a magnificent victory for diminutive nine-year-old Kristofer Francombe.

For the first time, the British Judo Council events committee segregated the eight and nine year old entrants into separate weight and age categories, allowing them to compete on a level playing field, instead of being amalgamated with older entrants.

Kristofer, of Layston Park, took full advantage of this opportunity. Weighing over his nominated weight category on arrival, he never once looked like losing any of his eight bouts.

He posted his intention in the first match, ankle sweeping his opponent for a maximum 10 point throw within three seconds of the start.

His second contest produced much drama, as within 20 seconds he also dispatched his opponent - with an Ippon scoring Hiza Guruma - for the match to be scrubbed out on a protest from the opposing coach that the technique was an invalid sacrifice technique.

A debate between the relative coaches and officials saw agreement that the match be re-fought, and Kristofer won again with a positive Uchi-Mata for Ippon, this time letting his opponent stay on his feet for all of a minute.

A further win saw Kristofer in the semi final, and here the Uchi-Mata throw again saw him attain a further Ippon winning throw.

Andrew Hope of the Washington Judo Club from Newcastle was his opponent in the final, and as he had also scored six maximum 10-point wins, the stage was set for a stunning final.

Hope was the first to score, with a hip throw for a five-point score, and valiant effort by Kristofer with his Uchi-Mata technique was being resisted by Hope with stout defence.

Such was the onslaught that Kristofer was making on the Newcastle star, that the referee had to penalise Hope for 'passivity' and now knowing that he needed a further score to take the Gold medal away from Kristofer, his first foray into attack proved his undoing.

Kristofer produced what must have been the technique of the day in taking both of Hope's ankles away with Okure Ashi Barai for a full blooded Ippon score, which had the arena on their feet.

Elsewhere the JM Club had Kellie Lucken in the junior girls under 35 kilo grouping, and in a four girl pool she gained one impressive win but was unfortunate to be drawn in the same pool as Kayliegh Charlton, the eventual gold medallist.

Also in with a chance was Kristofer's sister Sophie Francombe, in the Junior Girls under 45 kilo section,

She lost her opening bout in her pool, but gained an impressive win in her second, to reach the bronze medal fight-offs.

Here, she won her first bout with a stunning Seoi Nage Ippon throw, but lost her next to have the bronze medal snatched away.

But a fifth place in a national competition, and in a weight division she not previously fought in, was still an encouraging performance.

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