JEMIMA Duxberry is back from a six-month lay-off with a bang after she won a gold medal at last weekend’s European Junior Cup in Greece.
The 19-year-old, from Devizes, spent half a year out of competition after injuring her shoulder during her World Junior Championships debut in Slovenia last year.
But after winning both the junior and senior sections at the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast last month, Duxberry took the top prize in her new U70kg category in Thessaloniki on Sunday.
Duxberry spent this week at a training camp in Walsall ahead of next weekend’s London Open, at the University of East London’s SportsDock centre, and is relieved that the baptism of fire has resulted in her second-ever European Junior Cup medal.
“Being injured was horrible. You spend all that time training in the gym thinking ‘what is this for?’ so it was nice to get back competing and remind yourself what you’re doing it for,” she said.
“I was a bit nervous before Belfast and when I did fall on my shoulder, it hurt a bit but nothing too major. I’ve thrown myself in at the deep end but it’s gone well so far.
“Last weekend was great. It was good to win at U70kgs because a lot of people knew me at U63kgs but this was me making my stamp on things at a new weight.
“There aren’t any European rankings anymore and it’s just the IJF (International Judo Federation) rankings now. Because this was my first tournament, I’m up to fourth in the junior world rankings, which is pretty nice.
“It will change all the time because you can’t do every event but it would be amazing if I could stay there to give myself a chance of getting picked for the Europeans (in Romania, in September) and the Worlds (in Miami, in October).”
Duxberry’s Devizes Budo Club colleagues Amy Oram, from Melksham, and Adam Bolwell, from Trowbridge, took gold and silver medals respectively at the Samurai senior open in Kidderminster last weekend.
Eleven Devizes players also claimed medals at the Northern Home Counties orange belt and below event in High Wycombe.
There were golds for Ellie May Skinner, Lee Marchant and Isabel Mackay, with Jasmin Edwards, Matis Tremblay, Kieran McCann; Guy Kyte and Ben Mersini winning silvers.
Bronzes went to Lewis Mersini, Arhie Carter-Humphries and Arthur Calver.
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