The Third Junior and Youth European Championships were held at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield between Friday 28th and Sunday the 30th of October 2016 and attracted over 160 competitors.

Both the Russian and Irish contingents turned up in force giving a good account of themselves and taking many honours.

The opening ceremony took place at the ‘Valley Centertainment’ cinema complex and was followed by a screening of ‘Dr Strange’, Marvel’s latest Super hero movie. This was followed by two days of continuous competition overseen magnificently by Sarah Fletcher ably supported by over 35 judges, referees and officials.

All the young people who took part demonstrated the true spirit of Aikido and enjoyed every moment win or lose. For the first time the event was divided into five categories, giving more young people the opportunity to compete on equal grounds. We had the standard Juniors with the under 8s and under 10s age groups, the Youth groups under 13s and under 16s years and the addition of the Cadet age group under19s.

Once the events were completed, on time, the finale took place with the presentation of awards to the Hilton Hotel Sheffield. The entertainment was twofold, a variety of circus acts entertained at the tables and Morgan Murphy, Chris White and Harris Aldridge provided some excellent music – they were the stars of the show.

Following the formality of awarding medals was over the young people settled down to enjoy the rest of the night exchanging tales of what might have been and making a host of new friendships.

Bob Jones