7th Eurometropole Masters 2015


Saturday 31st January 2015, saw Guernsey’s very own Mitch Agnelli competing at the 7th Eurometropole Masters in Lille, France – not only representing Guernsey Judo, but more importantly was there as part of the British Masters Team as the current British number one for his age/weight category.

This judo competition was a ranking tournament event for the 2015 French Masters judo squad and attracted 450 men and 80 women competitors from 16 European countries. Competitors fought across seven mats in their various weight categories, with the competition being of the highest standard due to the Federation Francais de Judo (FFJ) sponsoring all team members who attend twenty competitions, held throughout the world each year.

Mitch, who only a week prior to the competition was suffering from severe bronchitis, weighed in at 76.6kgs, which is significantly less than he’d hoped for and was fighting in the M9 (age 70 – 74 years) at under 81kg category. However, due to numbers, this category was combined with the M8 (age 65 – 69 years), also at under 81kgs, thus meaning Mitch would have to not only fight his fellow competitor in the M9 category, but also fight younger opponents. Not one to be deterred by this prospect, Mitch held his own against two younger competitors and took a Bronze medal in this combined section of his tournament.

It was in fighting his fellow competitor from the M9 category, where Mitch really shone. His opponent, Max Suard (France), managed to win the Silver medal the previous year and was determined that the Gold would be his in 2015, as the person who beat him last year had not entered. Suard, who did not know Agnelli was the current British Masters Champion was to be shown a lesson he wouldn’t forget in a hurry.

Mitch decided early on that he would implement the same strategy/tactics that got him his Gold at the British Masters, which proved to be a good move as he was able to get hold of Suard with an awkward left handed grip. Suard became very defensive and received his first penalty after 30 seconds into the bout for not attacking. Mitch then went on to put in some strong left handed techniques to test out his opponents defence and realising not much was happening from him, went in hard on the third attack, dropping Suard with a ‘kata hiza tai otoshi’(single knee body drop); resulting in an Ippon (10 points) and a well-deserved victory.

Mitch was not the only judoka competing from Guernsey. His fellow coach, Ady Carre was also taking part in the M5, Under 81 kilos category. Ady was unlucky in his draw, as his category was fought under a knockout rather than a pool.  In other words, he had to keep winning to progress or hope that the person who beat him made it to the medal fights in order to gain a second chance.

This was not to be, as Ady got a tough first round draw against a German opponent who beat him and only himself lost before the medals; thus ending Ady’s day early on. Nevertheless, Ady gained some good experience not only from his fight but of international judo, which will help in his preparation for his next event.