Norton Radstock and former TeamGB judoka, Matthew Hucker, has had a challenging year running up to October.

Hucker, who sustained a knee injury in the Scottish Open at the start of the year, couldn’t walk fully for the first three months of 2019, spending a majority of that time rehabilitating. Becoming British blue BJJ champion and West of England judo champion in the spring, gave Hucker confidence running up to the Commonwealth Championships in September, at which he was selected to represent England.

Frustratingly, Hucker lost in the first round of the twelve participants.

Three weeks later, and the unforgiving Welsh Open was upon Hucker, known for its high level in entrance and quality. With nothing to lose, Hucker worked through the tournament of 23 fighters in his category with one bye, one hold down, one arm lock and one ippon throw, earning him a place in the final.

The fight almost went the distance with Hucker two shidos (penalties) down on the brink of disqualification, when he pounced on a poor attack from his opponent, pinning him for twenty seconds. Hucker took Gold, reinstating him and Midsomer Norton Judo Club’s reputation on the national judo circuit.

With this much-needed win, Matthew Hucker is now ranked second in the UK and first in England again, putting him in good stead for the British Championships in December.

Matthew Hucker’s training partner, Kern Foot, of Shepton Judo Club, also competed, winning three tough fights in emphatic style, earning him a fifth place finish and moving him up twenty places on the British ranking list. Colin Taylor