Sport

Davis secures historic gold medals in CWG judo

Monday, November 19, 2018

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Fuelled by the drive and support of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), the country's sporting representatives continue to conquer new frontiers with judoka Tom Davis claiming a historic gold medal, two for good measure, at the 2018 Commonwealth Judo Championships in Jaipur, India.

It was the first time that Jamaica was represented in judo at the Commonwealth Championships and Davis, an elite judoka, won medals in the Masters and Seniors categories.

“Top of it I was able to draw history for Jamaican judo, for which I am very pleased for our nation and for our sport,” said Davis. “The Indian Judo Federation did everything they could to make us feel welcome and that support, just like what I receive from the Jamaica Judo Association (JJA) and the Jamaica Olympic Association ,only leads to much better performances.”

Continuing, Davis said it was a “proud moment”.

“It's a proud moment to stand on the rostrum, let alone on top and hear the national anthem,” said Davis, who was sponsored by the JOA. “It is something I didn't experience very much or as much as I would have liked in previous years; it is massive.”

His last medal was secured in the final, which meant the championship — which ended on November 10 — closed off with Jamaica's National Anthem. Davis said this was special.

“The night before my last event I was secretly very proud, thinking tomorrow it would be the last anthem played at the Commonwealth Judo Championships; what a nice way to end the competition. Still impetus to hear it again, until next time,” Davis reminisced with JJA General Secretary Szandra Szodegi.

Ryan Foster, CEO of the JOA, said they are happy to facilitate history.

“The JOA is extremely pleased to continue to be part of, and facilitating history. When Dwayne (Barrett, JJA president) and Szandra came to the JOA some months ago to share their plans, we immediately knew that their objectives were aligned to ours,” he said.

“Judo, we believe, is on course to be part of our '10 in 20' plan,” Foster outlined. “We will be launching soon our text funding campaign to further raise funds to facilitate our members' dreams. We are proud of Tom and his perseverance to make us proud.”

Over 200 judoka from 11 countries participated at the championship, which saw Davis securing his first gold medal in the Masters with lppon wins in his first two matches, followed by outstanding tactical work in the final.

“The Masters was my first competition for a while and on paper should have been easier, but that brings expectation. Masters judo has grown so much over the past few years and it really was an international event. It was great to get some fights and come out with the win,” he observed.

“The person I faced in the final had spent less than a minute on the mat in his previous two contests, so I knew it would be difficult. But I feel I am experienced even if in years gone by, and managed the size and throwing ability of my opponent quite well, enough to win anyway,” Davis commented.

The Jamaican judoka also won gold in the senior division, using much of the shime-waza skills he had displayed throughout. He said this carried greater significance, given that it was pretty much an open class event.

“The Seniors is the event that counted even more as anyone can enter and throughout the week the level of judo from the home nation impressed me. This didn't change in the Seniors. The event leaves me with lots to work on as it certainly wasn't easy,” Davis revealed.

His ambition is to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, a goal that fits that of the JOA's '10 in 20' campaign, to have the nation represented in 10 sporting disciplines at Japan's games. Seven have already succeeded and Davis is keeping judo on course.

“Always with this ambition it is about showing myself that I can grow and improve, because if I am improving, I give myself the opportunity to compete on the world stage again and do myself, my family and Jamaican judo justice,” Davis emphasised.

“I am happy that I was able to compete injury-free and this is the start. There is a long road to Tokyo, especially that judo has a two-year qualification system. These two medals certainly gave the push and confirmation that I am back and now I will continue to work towards Tokyo.”

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