High five as Gosport squad hold sway in British Judo Masters

Gosport squad: Left to right, Ronda Crampton-Reid, Sarah Hopkins, Roland Manuel, Martin Foster and Derek Hopkins
Gosport squad: Left to right, Ronda Crampton-Reid, Sarah Hopkins, Roland Manuel, Martin Foster and Derek Hopkins
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It was a golden day for Gosport at the British Masters Judo Championships.

Derek Hopkins, Sarah Hopkins, Martin Foster, Ronda Crampton-Reid and Roland Manuel all stepped up to the plate to win their respective weight categories in Walsall.

His first fight was against a good friend and long-time judo colleague so you can imagine it was a close fight, only separated by a penalty point win for Derek

Sarah Hopkins

Derek Hopkins got the gold rush started for the Forton Road club.

Fighting in a pool of five it was a busy day for the Gosport player.

But his recent solid performance in the World Masters in Amsterdam showed he was ready to deliver success back on home ground.

He did just that with a series of powerful wins after coming through a tough opening test against a very familiar rival.

Gosport coach Sarah Hopkins said: ‘The day started with Derek fighting first in a pool of five.

‘His first fight was against a good friend and long-time judo colleague so you can imagine it was a close fight, only separated by a penalty point win to Derek.

‘Derek’s other contests were won on a combination of throws and holds to become British masters champion.’

Sarah Hopkins was defending her British title and looking to repeat her success from the World Masters.

As the recognised dominant force in world judo in her category, she was always going to be under pressure to perform.

Her reputation for winning all the titles on the big stage has gathered pace in recent years, culminating in winning the big treble of European, world and British titles in 2014.

After the success of her husband Derek she was also keen to ensure Gosport had more golden success to celebrate.

‘I was on next and in a pool of three,’ added Hopkins.

‘After fighting outside my weight at the world championships it was nice to be in my normal weight group.

‘I have fought both of my opponents before but as I always say it’s another day and another fight.

‘Both contests ended in maximum point throws and the gold medal.’

It was then time to focus on the coaching which proved a challenge in itself.

The remaining trio were all competing at the same time in Walsall.

But with the encouragement from their club-mates who had already won gold they were able to get the job done.

Sarah Hopkins added: ‘Martin Foster, Ronda Crampton-Reid and Roland Manuel were all up next and on at the same time so coaching them became fun.

‘Martin was in two pools of three and came through to the final with an array of throws to win the gold.

‘Roland was in a pool of four and won all on a variety of throws.

‘Ronda had one in her group who she beat and came away with gold.

‘All in all it was a very successful day for the senior members of Gosport Judo Club.’