She’s sweet and has a brilliant smile, but also knows how to rumble and tumble, and she’s good at it.
Nine year old Rosie Willson from Patumahoe is a bronze medal champion in Judo. The yellow belt was able to beat several others in the fights at the national Championships held earlier this month.
From 30 September to 1 October, the Harry O’Rourke Memorial 2017 New Zealand Judo Championships took place in Wellington.
While she fought against girls who had higher belts than her, she was able to hold her ground and show her skill, representing her club Big Judo.
“Judo is fun,” she said. “You get to rumble and tumble without getting hurt.”
However a strained muscle meant that this year Rosie was unable to come away with a higher placing, despite beating some of the other contestants in earlier rounds of the competition.
“Unfortunately the competitors were on equal points in the weight category and it had to go to a re-fight. But Rosie had hurt her leg in the last fight and she was in a lot of pain,” said coach Tracey Cathcart (nee Stormont). Rosie said despite the injury it was still a great experience. “I was pretty happy, but a little bit gutted because I hurt my leg.”
Her parents and coaches are still immensely proud. “She has a lovely attitude and is so bubbly,” Tracey said. Rosie hopes to keep competing and to continue the medal haul next year.
Her Dad, John, said it’s a great confidence booster and has helped his kids with their other sports too. “It’s also a great way for kids from different schools in the area, to mingle. It gives them the confidence to go for it, without a doubt.”
But, he said, it can be a stressful watch for the parents. “When you’re watching the kids on the mat, I think the parents get more stressed than they do,” he laughs.
Kyle Leggott from Big Judo was also competing at the National Championships. He came away with two golds, a silver and a bronze in a range of categories. He now qualifies for the Oceania competition.