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Drama and Controversy spoil a successful Bristol Open Weekend

Our annual visit to the Bristol Open was unfortunately spoilt by the behaviour of a couple of officials who particularly on the Saturday ruined what potentially could have been a really good day for our fighters.

We all have to put up with bad decisions and they are extremely frustrating at the time but as regular followers of the sport you do learn to accept them and get over it, however there were several over the weekend involving Tejay Bacon, Bradley ‘O’ Shea and Mia Woodward that did leave a bitter taste mainly because they were the difference between winning the division and coming second which is a little harder to accept.

To make matters worse Alf ended up pulling Harvey Grenfell out of his light contact fight on the Saturday due to the unfair treatment he was getting from the referee who seemed to only want to penalise him for holding when his opponent was clearly the main culprit. What was wholly unacceptable was the disrespect shown towards Alf, in particular from one WAKO official on the Saturday which is something that has no place in our sport and was all the more of a surprise coming from an organisation who in fairness have done more than any others in taking our sport forward with the innovative ideas they have introduced over the last decade. This was pretty much the last straw for Alf and prompted him to seriously consider pulling all our fighters from the tournament on Sunday but thankfully after intervention from the organisers and a call to the WAKO Vice President on Saturday evening from our Club Secretary the official was noticeably absent from the tournament on the Sunday and things were significantly better and what you expect from the BRISTOL OPEN...

In amongst all the drama and controversy our fighters still achieved some impressive results, on Saturday Mia Woodward won in light continuous repeating her result at the 2015 event, Tejay and Shannon Bacon, Johnny Hoyle and Bradley ‘O’ Shea all came second with Chloe Love, Ruby Hoyle and Robbie Law coming third. Sunday saw all our fighters compete in semi contact and Ruby Hoyle and Romeo Navaratnam did not disappoint as they both registered their first ever wins at this event, Mia Woodward and Bradley ‘O’ Shea were unfortunate in coming second in their respective divisions and Tejay Bacon, Idress Hussain and Eromi Navaratnam all secured third places.

After two days of competition our fighters with the exception of Harvey, who was disqualified after the events on Saturday, all benefited from some quality mat time against a really high standard of competitor which hopefully will prove to stand them in good stead for what lies ahead for the majority of them in a couple of week’s time in Dublin.

Our thanks go to both Sean Viera and Andy Cleeves who over the years have done a terrific job in making the Bristol Open one of the best tournaments on the kickboxing calendar, our issue on Saturday was not with them but with a minority of officials, we appreciate that they had the presence of mind to deal with the situation and respect them for that and I feel sure we will be back next year.