Cox retains British number one spot in judo but Kendal's Horley suffers eye injury

The Westmorland Gazette: Michael Horley was forced to wear an eye patch after an opponent accidentally poked him in the eye during the British National Judo Championships Michael Horley was forced to wear an eye patch after an opponent accidentally poked him in the eye during the British National Judo Championships

IT WAS a case of success and near disaster for Kendal at the British National Judo Championships in Sheffield, which were being used as National Squad selections.

The successes came from new coach Sophie Cox and Michael Horley, who both made it into the top four in their weight categories.

The competition was fought in a round robin system and Cox had a storming start with a range of winning techniques, including an armlock against Emma Chamberlain from Winchester, a hold down against Kirstin Gray from Scotland and a full point thrown on Stephanie Inglis, also from Scotland.

She then met the up and coming Nekoda Davis from Ealing who had just moved up to the Under 57 kilo category. A mammoth eight-minute contest took place with the Londoner just winning by the smallest of margins.

However Cox was into the second round and wins against Connie Ramsey from Scotland and Nicola Haywood with another full point throw in 18 seconds left Cox waiting for the result of the last contest of the day between Ramsey and Davis to decide the squad placings.

This fight went to time with the Scottish player winning but not by a big enough margin to oust the Kendal player from the number one place in Britain.

Michael Horley started well, winning his first two contests by the full point needed.

However in the second contest an accidental finger in the eye from his opponent gave the Kendal player a serious injury and left him without any vision in his right eye.

In his third contest against Ramon Alexander from London he finished in an outstanding seven seconds, but the eye injury got worse and, although he bravely attempted to continue to fight in the second round, Horley was eventually forced to retire.

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After the tournament Horley was assured that the injury to his eye was not permanent and his attempts to fight in the second round meant that he is rated as one of the top four national squad members in the country at his weight.

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