12:47pm Tuesday 26th June 2012
A YEAR 9 student from Colfe’s school in Lee has won a silver medal at the Kent international judo competition and qualified for the pre-cadet GB squad.
Leonardo Bertocchi, from Catford, had five fights, winning four and losing in the final at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.
Bertocchi was in action against 25 other competitors from around the world in a point scoring contest.
His silver success means Bertocchi has earned enough points to qualify for the GB squad in his weight group.
The 14-year-old green belt, who is a member of the Tsukuru club in Orpington, said it was tough competition.
He explained: “It was a really long day and I had to wait around for an hour between each of my fights because there were so many people in the competition.
“I was pleased to win one of my fights on a clear throw but the third fight was nerve-racking because it went down to the judge’s decision.
“This is where the judge picks who they thought was the better fighter.
“Luckily it was me.
“I was really happy when I found out I was in the final.
“I don’t think anyone believed, including me, that I’d do so well in this competition because it was very difficult and the expectations were very high.
“I’m just thrilled that I’ve fulfilled those expectations.”
Colfe’s school captain Charlie Whittaker knows exactly what it takes to be a champion having been ranked fourth in the country at judo two years ago.
Whittaker, who is the independent schools’ judo champion this year said: “Leonardo’s achievement is obviously outstanding.
“But it is particularly notable because in the Olympic year judo has seen a surge in popularity among kids and competition is particularly fierce.
“So to do so well and prove to be one of the best in the world is incredible.”
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