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Medal joy for UEL judoka

PUBLISHED: 16:00 05 March 2014

UEL's Sophie Newnes and Helder Francisco show off their medals

UEL's Sophie Newnes and Helder Francisco show off their medals

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Students shine at BUCS finals

University of East London (UEL) Judo won a record three medals at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Championships in Sheffield, including a gold from Helder Francisco.

The 22-year-old was competing in his second BUCS and showed imperious form throughout his under-66kg category, winning three out of his four fights by ippon, before doing the same to Anglia Ruskin’s George Buckley in the final to win gold.

There was further success for UEL Sports high-performance scholars, as Julia Scardone and Sophie Newnes claimed silvers.

Scardone had won bronze last year and was consistent throughout the under-57kg competition, winning both pool matches by ippon before losing to Anglia Ruskin’s Tara Fitzjohn in the final by a penalty, after the referee discounted a previous throw.

Multiple Jujitsu champion Newnes was competing in her first national judo event and used her mixed martial arts experience in the under-78kg category.

But after winning her first bout with an arm bar, she lost a tight final to University of London’s Shermane Henlon.

UEL head coach and international judoka Szandra Szogedi was unable to compete due to injury, but said: “There are no words to describe how proud I am of all of them.

“We used to struggle to get students on the mat when we started the club three years ago, now thanks to all the hard work me and Stephen (Kent) have put in, we are leaving Sheffield with three medals!”

Kelly Kenubia had a great BUCS debut in his under-81kg category, winning three of his five fights by ippon and finishing a respectful seventh out of massive field of 28.

Club chairman Stephen Kent was appearing in his final BUCS and fought hard in the over-100kg category, but was unable to progress from his pool and add to the silver he won last year.

Szogedi added: “With me finishing my studies this year, I’m confident we are now in a good place heading in to the future. I hope now we can push on and that UEL Judo will grow bigger and bigger in the years to come.”

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