Mark is England no.1
Braunton Academy student and Kingsley School Judo Club member Mark Wild was selected to represent England Judo at the 2016 UK School Games held at Loughborough University over the weekend. Mark was alongside 1,600 athletes across 12 sports, seven of which include disability disciplines, at the four-day spectacular which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.
The event, that aims to replicate the experience of a major sporting event like an Olympic and Paralympic or Commonwealth Games, will have spectacular opening and closing ceremonies an athletes’ village and a full education programme that gives the competing athletes a unique insight into the world of elite sport.
The Games have provided a springboard for many of today’s biggest names in sport. Previous competitors include Paralympic gold medallists Ellie Simmonds, Hannah Cockroft and Jonnie Peacock along with GB sprinter Adam Gemili, heptathlete Katrina Johnson-Thompson, and Olympic gymnast Sam Oldham.
Mark was clearly inspired by the whole experience and said, " I'm totally honoured to be selected by England to compete at the championships".
Mark fought incredibly well in the under 50kg category and came away after 5 rounds of competition with an amazing Silver Medal. Mark's competition started a little nervously against Scotland’s Euan Mightens. The match was even after the 3 minutes, so the bout went into golden time. This put a lot of pressure on both judoka, but it was Mark who found the right attitude and caught his opponent with a well-timed technique to score Ippon with a Tai Otoshi to win the bout.
Mark then wasted no time in beating Wales' Rhys Eckley with a Seoi Nage shoulder throw to another Ippon in just 28 seconds. Next came Mark's England team rival Kieren Masters. This was a tough battle but Mark was able to control the best gripping and attacks, and once again found the better throws to score another Ippon to win the bout. In the semi-final Mark fought Wales' Callum Bennett. The two boys are close friends and the contest was yet again a very close and tense battle. Mark was always going to be the first to attack strongly and with a brilliantly time O Uchi Gari leg throw he scored Wazaari 7pts. This was enough to hold on and secure Mark a place in the final. Another Scottish judoka, Artur Patemian, was Mar'ks final challenge in the final; this battle was equally challenging with both boys going for every opportunity to throw and score points. Mark was starting to take control of the bout with great movement and grips, but disaster struck as Mark was caught on the edge of the contest area, For just a second he lost concentration and this was all it took to allow Artur to take his opportunity to score Ippon and end Mark's dreams of winning Gold.
However, to come away with a Silver medal and secure his spot as number one in England in his weight category was a fantastic weekend's work.
Well done, Mark. We are all extremely proud of your fantastic achievements.