Young pair enjoy medal success

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With almost two decades of experience between them, two Dunedin judo athletes had a successful weekend at an international competition.

Dylan Murcott and Alaina Baker recently competed in the Auckland International Open Judo Championships and both had success in their grades.

The championship was held at the end of last month and attracted athletes from 10 different countries.

It was the first time Dylan (15) had competed at the event and he won bronze in the under-81 cadets.

He was up against an Auckland athlete in the fight for third and won in three minutes, after he held his opponent down for 20 seconds.

The Otago Boys’ High School pupil lost his first fight to an athlete from French Polynesia.

It was “different” competing against people from other countries, as they each had their own style, he said.

Alaina (17) won two gold medals; one in under-70 cadet and the other in the junior women.

She competed in three fights to win the gold medal in the cadet grade. Like Dylan, she lost her first fight but won the next two.

After she had won her second fight, she knew she had at least secured a silver medal.

She won the junior women’s fight uncontested.

Dylan and Alaina said the French Polynesian athletes were big, scrappy and aggressive and it was a great experience to compete against them.

The pair enjoy training for judo and the social element of the sport and have recently started to help coach the younger athletes at their club, Renshuden Judo Club.

The club has been in Dunedin for about 40 years, and is based in Mornington.

It has 55 members from juniors (primary school age) to seniors and holds separate classes during the week for grades.

Coach Ron Williams, who joined the club about three years ago, said the club had had a lot of success in recent years.

Next on the calendar for Dylan and Alaina is the Sydney International this weekend .

“It will be a lot bigger [than the Auckland event],” Alaina said.

“Probably double the size.”

Following the Sydney competition, she will take part in a international training camp.