Manx judoka Chris Horton recently competed at the season-opening Euromètropole Masters in Lille, France.
The event is seen as one of the jewels of the veterans calendar, with a strong entry of competitors from all over Europe.
Having put in a combination of technical and conditioning work since returning from the Veterans World Championships in Abu Dhabi in November, Horton was keen to put this to the test in competition.
The Isle of Man Veteran Sportsperson of the Year nominee was involved in the first contest for the M3 (40-44yrs) u100kg fighters, where a contentious waza-ari score for the Frenchman Critelli saw him progress to the semi-finals.
As a result, Horton had to make do with the repechage contest in an effort to claim a bronze medal.
His next contest, against another Frenchman, Clauzel, saw Horton able to control the contest more with grips, and two waza-ari scores from counter-attacks saw the man from Peel progress to face Maglecki in the repechage semi-final.
Having just seen his opponent narrowly progress against his GB team-mate in the previous round, Horton started well but was unable to find a way past his opponent’s grip and received two penalties in quick succession.
Eager to not face a third and disqualification, Horton tried an attack in the closing seconds but found himself countered for a waza-ari score that he was not able to recover from.
Reflecting on his eventual seventh place, Horton said: ‘There was not much to separate the competitors in this group today. I’m pleased with how I fought and was never outclassed in the contests, but there are things to improve on back home in training.
‘It’s a good marker for the rest of the events I have lined up for the rest of the year. Thanks to everyone who has supported me in preparation for this event.’
Horton has set himself a busy schedule of events in the first quarter of the year, with the ultimate goal the Commonwealth Veterans Championships in Malta this April.
Next up is slightly closer to home, with the Liverpool Open in mid-February.
l Isle of Man Judo is currently looking for companies to sponsor their team to assist with off-island travel costs in an attempt to send a group to the 2027 Island Games in the Faroe Islands.