Niamh Southgate steps up to win British Pre-Cadet and Cadet Championships title
Kumo Judo Club star Niamh Southgate produced ‘another miracle’ to be crowned champion at the British Pre-Cadet and Cadet Championships once again last weekend.
Despite moving up a weight to under-57kg, Southgate won all five of her contests against the best British Cadet players aged under 16 in the country in Sheffield.
It was a particularly tight tussle in the final against Isabel Kitchen, who has also been identified for the Great Britain Futures programme, but 15-year-old Southgate managed to counter an attack to score the winning throw.
Howard Oates, who is head coach of Southgate’s Lopham-based club, said: “Players do not usually step up at National Championships but Niamh is such a talent.
“Because she moved up she was not seeded in the competition and every fight was tough and incredibly difficult.
“Yet, she did not concede a score all day and she has pulled off yet another miracle. Everything was against her but she keeps coming up with these big victories – it is amazing.”
There was cause for double celebration for the Southgate family after Niamh’s elder sister Eden rallied to win bronze in the 52kg section.
She was beaten by number one seed Mae Bostock in the semi-finals, but responded with three wins to claim a spot on the podium and help to banish memories of the last two years.
“Eden has suffered two horrific bronze medal losses,” added Oates. “Last year she was seven seconds away from winning bronze and was then disqualified – that was gutting.
“But she has made up for it now and fully deserves this success.
“And now Niamh has gone up a weight, it means they will be kept apart in competitions, which is great.”
The fighting sisters will return to Sheffield this weekend, to compete at the British Under-20 Championships.
Read moreOther Sport
More by this authorLiam Apicella