| Taking the short flight from Gatwick
to Valetta allowed the home country teams to move from the frosty
March weather into the spring temperatures of a Mediterranean island.
The Maltese Open was hosting teams this year from Italy, Sicily,
Cyprus, Russia, Tunisia plus three of the four home nations, England,
Northern Ireland and Wales.
Without doubt the two strongest teams in the tournament were
from Wales and Italy. The final metal table put Italy in first place
with four Golds but if there was a trophy for the most stylish
team it surely would have gone to Wales led this year by their
new National coach Valeriy Vostrikov. At -81kg Luke Preston
was that Knight of Malta, winning the throw of the tournament
trophy for dispatching Aaron Thomas in the final in an
impressive 13 seconds. En-route he had powered his way past,
Hiddi TUN, Cilia ITA, and Donnelly NI in equally dramatic style.
His team mate at -73kg, Craig Ewers, also had an impressive
run to the final beating Pocaeri ITA, Cartenzio SCI and Parisi ITA
before meeting Dallura ITA in the quest for Gold. As the fight
started Craig was quickly caught with a drop Kata-guruma
which scored Yuko. Not put off by this early score against him,
Craig turned and dropped to his knees underneath his opponent
for a Seoi-nage attack and then climbed right back onto his feet
with his opponent on his back, launching Dallura over the top
to score Ippon.
Not to be left out by his team members Richard Nash -73kg scored Ippon with
an incredible Te-guruma scooping Favata ITA above head height before smashing
him down to the mat.
Also taking medals were Gary Cole -60kg & Aaron Thomas -81kg of Wales,
Silver medalists. And taking Bronzes, Steven Boore, -60kg, Stephen Abberley
-66kg, Richard Nash, -73kg all from Wales, and then Chris Donnelly -81kg NI,
Mark O'Connor -90kg Wales, and Alun Green -100kg England. Taking Gold in the
+100kg was Bob Willingham, England, who also won the spirit of Judo trophy.
For good clubs who are looking to stretch their competitive players the Maltese
Open offers a great opportunity to experience international competition without
the pressure of meeting world class players. The hospitality of our Maltese
hosts was second to none with good hotels, good food and the advantage of being
able to speak English to everybody!
|Malta Open 2004
BERTOLONE, Antonio (ITA)
ABBERLEY, Stephen (GBR)
CARTENZIO, Alberto (ITA)
CILIA, Cristian (ITA)
ALLEGRA, Salvatore (ITA)
CAPEZZUTO, Ignazio (ITA)
WILLINGHAM, Bob (GBR)
BEZZINA, Marcon (MLT)
LICARI, Vicky (MLT)
TIBA, Hedia (TUN)