KENDAL Judo Club's Isaac Hill started the long judo competitive year at the Midland Area Junior Championships held in Walsall.
Hill had moved up a weight group for 2013 and was giving away more than three kilos (half a stone) to most of his Under 66 kilo (ten and a half stone) opponents in a category with the largest entry of 43 players from all over Britain in the competition.
Fought on a knockout basis with a repechage, Hill started well, throwing Alex Jackson from Bishop Stortford in under two minutes for the full point necessary.
His next bout was against Joey Fowler from Carshalton, who Hill threw for two half-point scores in well under the allotted time for the contest. Against Louis Arsac from Bradley Stoke, near Bristol, the contest had been going for less than a minute when Hill strangled his opponent for a submission.
His next contest was even shorter when he threw the higher graded William Mallinckrodt from Pinewood, in the Northern Home Counties, for a spectacular ippon (full point) score.
This put Hill into the semi-final against Stuart McWatt, from Garioch Scotland, the 2012 British Judo Cadet Champion at Under 66 kilo. Although Hill took the Scot to full time, a half point throw meant the Penrith player was always trying to catch up.
This put Hill into the bronze medal fight against Islem Thameur from Tower Hamlets. The fight was fairly even until, with 20 seconds to go, a groundwork manoeuvre from the Kendal club member allowed him to put an armlock on the Londoner for a submission and the bronze medal.
Hill got a foretaste of how hard being in the national squad is when he was allowed to practise with the Senior National Squad at their training weekend held at The Kendal Dojo.
His first training partner was the British Olympian at Under 66 kilos Colin Oates, followed by U60 kilo Olympian Ashley McKenzie from Ealing in London.