Bridgetown, Barbados – T&T’s 7 – member judo team returned home with an impressive tally of 5 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals after attending the 16th Barbados International Judo Tournament, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on the 26th November 2016.
Leading the charge for T&T was 15-year old Xavier JONES who won the Senior Male up to 81kg category. He was uncontested in the Junior Male up to 81kg and, as such, was awarded a gold medal. Although he competed with men more than twice his age in the Senior Male category, Jones had much more experience than his opponents from Guadeloupe and was able to wrap up his matches in less than 2 minutes with Ippon (outright victory). Coming off of his first National Judo Championships wins on 20th November, Chad WARRICK capped off a successful 2016 with total domination in the Senior Male +100kg, also winning both of his matches with Ippon. This was Warrick’s first opportunity to represent the Red, White and Black in judo competition and he is showing promise as one of the top heavyweights in the Caribbean. Latesha GILL made sure that she would not be outdone by her male counterparts when she won the Senior Female up to 70kg. This year was Gill’s return to competition after a long hiatus. She won both of her matches against Cindy LOGNOS of Guadeloupe with outright victories. Gabriella WOOD was not as decisive as her teammates but she managed to win the Senior Female +78kg by a slim margin over her opponent Hanna KARRA of the Bahamas who won silver. The team’s younger competitors weren’t able get gold but Giovanni LOPEZ (2nd place Male Cadets up to 60kg) and Kai SAMMY (3rd place Boys 9-10 up to 38kg) both started off well with outright victories, however, couldn’t top their respective categories. 9-year old Aidan GREAVES, the youngest and least experienced member of the team went down fighting. He was ahead in both of his matches but lost out after making simple errors such as not understanding the referee’s calls.
Although T&T finished 4th of 5 countries in the medal count, their gold medal haul made them the top team with the highest number of gold medals to team members. The tournament is known as one of the premier events for judoka in French and English speaking Caribbean and this year attracted 100 participants from the 5 territories. The results of the medal count are as follows:
- 1st Barbados (47 athletes, 14 gold)
- 2nd Martinique (27 athletes, 14 gold)
- 3rd Guadeloupe (14 athletes, 5 gold)
- 4th Trinidad and Tobago (7 athletes, 5 gold)
- 5th Bahamas (5 athletes, 2 gold)