A COUNTY judo star has cleaned up after winning the British and Irish Open National Championships.
Archie Strang, 14, from Tranent, completed the rare feat of capturing all titles for his age group by winning the heats Scotland, UK, Ireland, Wales and the Open.
The Ross High School student’s talent is reflected in the way he wins in all of his competitions, in nearly every one of them, with the judo equivalent of a knockout.
Archie’s father, Raymond Strang, said: “His semi-final in the UK was won by waza-ari, but other than that, every other match he played was won by ippon. It was almost a 99 per cent success rate. ”
Archie started the sport at age 5 and has grown since then, learning from his 16-year-old brother Finlay, who also won numerous national championships.
Archie said: “I never wanted to meet him in the race because he was always my biggest help, he was always leading the way for me, always leading the front line.
“So I learned from all his mistakes and he gave me a lot of advice.
“There may be a little competition, but no serious competition.”
David Reilly, head coach of the Dandehall Judo Club, who has coached Archie since he was a child, said his development was incredible.
He said: “He was a quiet little boy, he was fine, but he was getting better and better.
“He was brilliant, but it was his temperament that stood out.
“Clearing the board is amazing, and because of his nature, he can go further in the sport if he wants to — he can go all the way.”
Archie will now travel to Sweden to represent Scotland and take his judo skills to the international stage this month and challenge himself at the next heavyweight division.
Raymond said: “He is already completely dominant at home and when he goes to Sweden he will be fighting in his next weight category which is 55kg, not because he is growing and putting on extra pounds, It’s because he’s been focused on pushing himself to play in the British Championships again in December.”
Archie will now be entering the next age group (students) of judo, where adding chokes and booms will change the dynamic, but he is excited to move and develop his fighting skills.
He said: “It changes your style of judo because there’s a lot of blocking and booms going on on the ground and maybe you want to do more or protect it more so when it comes to you you have to be prepared Well done and ready to defend it.”
Archie welcomes the challenge and is excited about the prospect of taking it to the next level.
“My goal has always been to try to get into the Olympics, Worlds and Europe,” he said.
“It’s going to be a really tough challenge for me and I’m happy to do it, but I have to do it in order to improve and keep going.”