Two Brechin judo players found themselves face to face with former international players and national squad coaches when represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Judo Champioships in Cardiff last Monday.
Mark Arbuthnott and Piotr Gawrysiak’s first experience of international contest proved to be tough but rewarding.
A bye in the first round found Mark fighting for a semi-final place but a faulty player’s board found him being given only a minute to warm-up and being unable to get into the fight before being thrown.
He eventually exited the contest at the repêchage stage, being displaced by South African coach Francis Vlok.
Piotr also exited at the repêchage stage, beaten by Northern Ireland squad member Clive Roylance.
It might have been a different story for Piotr, who found himself ahead in his first bout against current Northern Ireland Judo Federation chairman Ricky Sloane, only to lose out in the dying seconds; a win may have seen Piotr fighting for a semi-final place against an opponent Sloane dominated.
On a positive note their performance was promising enough to elicit an invitation to join the Scottish Masters judo squad for training in the future.
Mark commented: “We knew it would be tough.
“It was, after all, the Commonwealth Championships but given it was our first masters competition we didn’t feel so far off the pace that we can’t improve our placings.
“So we will be entering more contests and training more regularly as part of the Scottish masters squad.
“The experience as a whole was daunting but well worth the journey to Cardiff and the venue, The Millenium Centre, was an awesome place to fight.”