What began as a merely a dream, became Cayman’s most historic achievement in the Olympic Sport of Judo.
Trevor Howard, Cayman Islands Delegate and Athlete, was all smiles when he returned from the 25th Annual Judo World Championships in Brazil. He says what he did had never before been attempted by anyone in the history of the Cayman Islands.
When learning about the upcoming Judo World Championships, Trevor became aware that no one would be representing the Cayman Islands in the tournament. Additionally, he learned that no one had ever before dared to compete on behalf of the Cayman Islands at such a high level of Judo competition.
Despite just 4 week’s notice and after suffering a massive shoulder injury during training just 12 days before the competition, Trevor courageously pressed forward, fully aware of his chances and knowing that he was Cayman’s only hope.
Having barely made the August 12th deadline to enrol in the tournament, Trevor felt compelled to drop 3 kilos and to step on the mat, in what would become a historic moment for Cayman Islands Athletics. His fate was sealed, injured or not, as he prepared himself to fight at the highest level of Judo competition in the world.
Trevor Howard, a Third Degree Black Belt in Judo or ‘Sandan’, and former USA Jr. National Judo Champion, rolled the dice on September 14th, just four days before his 30th birthday.
Cayman’s Trevor HOWARD fought Morocco’s Mohamed ELASSRI, in what would truly unfold into a battle of epic proportions.
Trevor opened up from the word go, and launched a low frontal assault, quickly capturing Elassri’s leg by blasting underneath his defences. With the Moroccan’s leg in the air and off balance, Trevor forced his opponent face down to the ground, securing the takedown by controlling Elassri’s wrist and hips.
Morocco was given a shockingly lucky break when the Referee prematurely stopped the action, before Trevor could finish the technique by stacking Elassri up onto his own shoulders.
This gave Elassri the window of opportunity he needed to regroup. After an unsuccessful attempt to flip Trevor on his back, Elassri scrambled to find a position.
In a blink, Cayman’s Howard, slid by Elassri’s guard and took his back, securing the position. Instead of finding a good position, Elassri found himself caught in a rear choke, where he tapped out and cried ‘Matte’ (Stop).
The Judo scoring system is such that the referee decided to award the victory to Morocco. However, documentary evidence could suggest otherwise, says Howard’s camp.
At the end of the day, and out of a total 144 participating countries, it could be technically interpreted that Cayman ‘tied’ for 28th place in the world in the 90 kilos and under weight category.
‘Now that we have a starting point from which to build, the sky is the limit for Cayman,’ said Cayman Islands National Judo Team Coach and competitor, Trevor.
‘Everything else is in place, we just need government and local support. This is a great opportunity to develop Judo in Cayman starting with the schools. Judo can be beneficial and constructive on so many levels. An Olympic Program will only be successful when it targets young athletes. These athletes need time to learn, gain experience and mature. Judo can provide for many international opportunities for young competitors, serve as a method of Self-Defence in addition to acting as an effective method of fitness which can tackle Cayman’s growing obesity problem.’
Cayman Islands National Judo Team Sponsor and Martial Arts Promoter, Palaestra Strategies (www.palaestrategy.com) announced its second Mixed Martial Arts event, PROVING GROUND II, scheduled for October 5th at the Lion Centre. Tickets are now on sale at Aqua Beach or at the Palaestra on Dorcy Drive.
Also sponsoring the Cayman Islands National Judo Team, were www.MMA.tv, Caribbean Publishing, Cayman Islands Mixed Martial Arts Association, Cayman Islands Judo Association and Palaestra Gems International www.palaestragemsinternational.com
As Cayman’s Martial Arts fans are setting the sights on October 5th for Proving Ground II, the Cayman Islands National Judo Team is setting its sights on next summer’s Beijing Olympic Games and is hoping for an opportunity to again represent the Cayman Islands on the world stage.