Commonwealth Games 2014

 

Louis Plevin’s journey to compete at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July 2014 started in January 2012, when he competed in the Commonwealth Judo Championships in Cardiff, South Wales. He fought in the Cadets (under 16’s) but he was still only 14 years old at the time. Louis weighed in at under 81 kilos where he came up against two South African Brown Belts. He lost his first bout, despite being up a score but then went on to win the Bronze medal fight off against the other South African with a tremendous “uranage” counter.


Louis Plevin’s journey to compete at the XX Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, 2014

On returning home, buoyed by this success, Louis expressed the wish to try and qualify for the full games in Glasgow 2014.

This was the start of a long hard road to gain not only the fitness required to compete at that level, but also reach the qualifying standard set down by the local Commonwealth Games Validation Committee. They insisted that only Black Belts should make the team so, undeterred, Louis set off to meet that criteria.

By September 2013, Louis was in great physical shape and was given the opportunity to gain his 1st Dan, Black Belt, when a Dan Grading was organised at the Guernsey Judo clubs dojo at the Grammar school.  The Senior Examiner was Dave Stanley, 6th Dan. Louis, having won his two individual fights, he was then given a further three opponents who he had to take on one after the other.

Undaunted by the task in front of him, Louis steam rollered through the line up to earn a well deserved Black Belt. At sixteen he became the youngest ever Guernsey judoka to hold such a high grade (beating his coach by three years!).

What followed was attendance at a series of top level tournaments which included the Welsh Open, English Open, Kent International and London International and interspersed between were a number of competitions at County and Area level.  The outcome was inevitable; the Validation Committee had no option but to concede that Louis had met the qualifying standard. In the process, Louis had in fact achieved 50 points toward his 2nd Dan. He was going to Glasgow!!

In July 2014, together with his coach and team manager, Ady Carre, Louis took his seat on the flight to Glasgow.

The opening ceremony was one not to forget. The atmosphere was incredible and Louis will never forget walking into a stadium of a 30,000 person screaming audience. 

Prior to the competition Louis was also lucky enough to train with other judo countries. He spent two sessions working hard with the Vanuatu team and another session with the Milawi team. Ady said it was the most he’d ever seen Louis sweat.

So at only 17 Louis was to become the first Guernseyman ever to represent his sport at the Commonwealths where he was to fight at under 90 kilos. 

The waiting was difficult to cope with and the expectations of his club mates rested heavily on young shoulders. The draw was announced and Louis’ first round fight was against, would you believe, a South African.

The atmosphere in the competition area was electric, with a large audience of mostly judo players waiting expectantly to see high level judo from some of the best players in the Commonwealth. 

Louis entered the arena accompanied by his coach and took up his position ready to go unto the mat. He was naturally very nervous and from the “hajime” he was very aware of the quality of his opponent who very quickly tried to end the contest with a deep “tomenage” which Louis expertly avoided. Back on their feet and taking grips Louis attempted an attack but his opponent read the move and slipped under him and threw him with a classic ”uchimata”. The expression on Louis’ face clearly showed his disappointment at losing so quickly in the first round which meant he would take no further part in the competition.

Louis initial disappointment was soon put aside when he watched the South African dispose of the rest of the under 90 kilo group. Defeating the number one seed in the process and going on win the Gold Medal. Louis consolation was the he had only lost to the best and there was no disgrace in that.

An added bonus was that following a last minute decision, his father, Steve, and younger brother, Laurence, were able to travel up to Scotland to support Louis

As is normal at judo competitions you end up meeting your fellow competitors and discussing their training regime. It transpired that the South African had just completed 6 weeks preparation for the Games by training in Japan.  The best that Louis was able to afford was two days at the Centre of Excellence at the Walsall Campus.

His father – Steve, brother – Laurence, and coach – Mitch, were able to join Louis and Ady in the Athletes Village for a day where they made the most of the social areas. The next day was a huge day for all of them. They decided to climb a mountain. Ben Lomond. One of Mitch’s life ambitions was to climb a mountain so he took the opportunity of Scotland and off they went. It took them 3 hours to climb the 3196 ft mountain and 4 hours to descend.  A new friend was made on this walk, Duncan Bond helped Mitch descend the mountain. The 11km hike was much enjoyed yet incredibly tiring, but an experience never to be forgotten.

During the games, Louis and Ady managed to watch a variety of sports. Obviously watching the judo, but also they saw table tennis, wrestling, para-weightlifting and athletics. Another memory made was when the Guernsey team met the one and only Dame Kelly Holmes.

During the whole games, Louis particularly enjoyed the use of the gym. Within this facility was the ice baths; his newfound love. They are known for the relief of lactic acid within your muscles and this was much need whenever Louis would complete a hard session. He also particularly enjoyed them due to the satisfaction he gained watching his coach Ady suffer from the ice-cold water.

Louis stayed on in Glasgow to support all the other Guernsey competitors and he was able to meet a number of his sporting idols and he brought home many lasting memories.

The lasting legacy that Louis now has is that he can compete at a high level and his future in the sport will only grow when he attends Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge following his A Level exams.