Leading Manx judoka Chris Horton claimed a well-earned silver medal at the British Masters Championships last weekend, a position that keeps him in the British Masters squad for 2024-25.  

Held at a different time to the traditional late autumn, Horton was competing in the M3 under-100kg category. 

After successfully weighing in at the National Performance Centre at the University of Wolverhamption’s Walsall campus on the Saturday night, he found himself in a competitive pool of five.  

In a confident mood following on from his silver at the High Wycombe Masters in May, Horton dominated his early rounds, submitting his first opponent with a strangle and using his ne-waza techniques on the ground to make his next opponent also submit from a hold in the mount position.  

This led him onto a crash course into the final with former British, European and Commonwealth Masters gold medallist Nick Hawke who had missed the 2023 event through injury. 

But the judoka had previously met in competition, with the man from Ryecroft Judo Club being the victor on each prior occasion.  

The opening exchanges were tense as both men stuggled to establish dominance over the other, with Hawke and Horton receiving penalties during the contest.  

Knowing a further penalty for either player would lead to disqualification, the final minute of the contest was frought as both battled for grips. 

Hawke launched a tai-otoshi technique with 40 seconds remaining to claim the ippon score and the gold medal, meaning Horton was left with the silver.  

As a result of his performance, Horton was invited by the GB coaching team to help prepare the Team GB Paralympic judo squad with some important conditioning and contests to hone their skills ahead of their selection for Paris 2024. 

Being on the receiving end of some techniques from full-time VI athletes Dan Powell and Evan Molloy gave Horton an indication of the step up in training being a full-time athlete entails.  

Speaking after the competition, Horton said: ‘I was happy with my form leading up to the competition, and Nick is a tough competitor whose club regularly receives visits from the British National Squad and performance players.  

‘Having previously only been on the bottom step of the podium, the silver medal shows improvement over the previous two years, where I received bronze.  

‘Although I love wearing the Manx flag on my chest, being selected for the British Masters team is a proud honour. Thanks to everyone who has helped me train for this – it’s now time for a break over the summer, and then refocus for a busy autumn period.’  

Chris is currently seeking sponsorship for the Isle of Man judo team as he and others prepare for events at the end of the year in the British Isles, Ireland and further afield. 

If you know of a company which can help, please email [email protected] or message Isle of Man Judo on Facebook.