Full house of medals from Japan event

Bridlington martial artists shocked their Japanese hosts by winning a gold, silver and bronze medal at the IN International Cup in Niigata.

Andy Giggall had the last laugh over his opponents when he took gold in his category, while Nathan Sutcliffe returned to the UK with a silver medal and Adele Kendall picked up a bronze.

All of the junior team from the Bridlington Martial Arts and Fitness Centre were awarded certificates of excellence.

The club’s head coach, Grand Master Stuart Hicken said “I am very proud of all the students, they behaved with the utmost respect and were a credit to our club.

“This trip has been a wonderful experience for us all and to come home with three medals is the icing on the cake.

“Of course none of this would have been possible without the help and generosity of local people and businesses and to all of these people we will be eternally grateful.”

After a gruelling 36-hour journey the team arrived in Japan and took on seven countries in the international tournament.

The junior team, consisting of Hugo Wilkie, Lily Price and Robert Fowler, competed on the first day of the two-day event.

In the hot and humid conditions of the Higashi General Sports Centre, which was a similar size to Bridlington Spa, battled against the vastly experienced Japanese competitors.

However, it was only on points decisions that they missed out on medals. Etsuzan Kimura, organiser of the tournament, was so impressed by the high standards shown by the juniors that he presented each of them with a certificate of excellence, an award that no other juniors received.

Day two saw Chris Smith, Sutcliffe, Giggall, Kendall and head team coach Franklyn Hicken bid to carry on the standards set by the juniors.

Mother-of-one Kendall fought and beat higher graded belts to take bronze and Sutcliffe needed extra time to snatch the silver medal from Spain’s Sonny Brancaccio.

But the highlight of the trip came with an outstanding performance by Giggall. He stormed through the preliminary stages with ease to set up a chance for gold.

The Bridlington squad watched in anticipation as Giggall knocked down his Japanese opponent three times to take the gold in front of an astounded home crowd.

Hicken said: “A local government official told me that our team ‘had really upset the apple cart’ with our performance.”

Hicken said: “Etsuzan Kimura has invited us back to Japan next year but the club has so many commitments already for 2014 that it will be impossible to go.

“We have trips to Germany, Spain, Portugal and USA to plan, not to mention our own tournament to be held here in Bridlington along with another masters’ seminar. There just aren’t enough months in the year.”