Bradley Stoke Judo Club player Tatum Keen has shot up from 90th to 18th in the world rankings following an outstanding silver medal-winning performance at a prestigious international competition in Croatia.
The success has come despite Tatum suffering a serious knee injury at the Adidas International Judo Cup in The Hague last November. Overcoming injury and illness, Tatum battled through to become British champion for the third time and then gain selection for the GB Identification Squad, entitling her to attend European Cadet Cup events.
On the second weekend in March, Tatum travelled as one of only seven girls in the England squad, and the only 52kg, to attend the Croatia Cadet Cup in Zagreb, one of the most well-known tournaments for young judokas worldwide, having grown from 220 participants to more than 800 judokas from 36 countries.
Tatum was ranked 90th in the world before going to the competition, out of 50 girls entered into her weight category, and was in pool C with the number 3 seed. Her first fight was against a strong Austrian who had previously won a European medal. After a tough fight where Tatum nearly got caught with a big throw, she managed to hold the girl down and win to get through to the second round.
In her second fight, Tatum came up against a very tall Serbian, but she won with an arm-lock and progressed to the third round, which was her highest achievement so far in a Cadet Cup.
Next, Tatum came up against the number 3 seed from Israel. The fight was a tough battle and went into ‘golden score’. With a change of tactics, Tatum managed to throw her opponent and won in the fight, therefore progressing to the pool final. Here, she came up against another strong Israeli and managed to win this fight with a confident display of judo, thereby winning her pool and unbelievably progressing to the semi-final, where she was up against the number 1 seed from Italy who is an excellent strong fighter and had looked confident all day. Tatum attacked and looked confident throughout the fight and with just over a minute left to go, she managed to hold down her opponent and win the fight.
In the final, she came up against the number 2 seed from Austria and after a good battle, she was eventually held down by the stronger, more experienced player and came away with the silver medal.
Club coach Pete Douglas commented: “England took 17 players, Wales 3 players and Scotland 7, but only England came away with two medals and Tatum’s was one of them. Tatum shocked the competition with this result and it will help greatly towards selection for the European Championships in Sarajevo end of June.”
Tatum, who is only 15 yet fights in the U18 age group where many of the 17-year-olds train full-time, will compete at two more tough competitions in Germany over the coming weeks whilst balancing school work and revision.
Photo: Tatum Keen, wearing her Croatia Cadet Cup silver medal, with coach Pete Douglas.
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 14). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,200 homes in Bradley Stoke and Little Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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