An Oceania champion, Campbells Forest teen is jolly good at judo

When it comes to judo, Bryan Jolly is used to being in control.

The 15-year-old has only lost one fight in more than three years and is confident he can defend his Oceania Judo Union Championships crown in April.

But what he can’t control is whether he will qualify for the event.

Jolly won the ACT Open recently, the first of two qualifiers for the Oceania titles in Cairns.

But the cadet featherweight (50kg and under) isn’t travelling to the second qualifier – this weekend’s Queensland Open.

Jolly is not too concerned about missing out, though, with each country allowed three competitors per division to the Oceania titles.

“I’m pretty much guaranteed to go,” he said.

Instead of competing at the Queensland Open, Jolly will attend tonight’s bankmecu-sponsored Bendigo Advertiser-WIN Television Sports Star of the Year Awards at the All Seasons in Bendigo.

The rising star is in contention for the overall award as the monthly winner for June for his first Oceania title, and he is also in the running for the Cyril Michelsen Trust Fund.

Already a five-time national champion, Jolly will fight for another Australian title in June, but first he’s keen to test himself at Oceania level again.

“I won last year the first time I went to it, that’s the highest level I’ve fought at pretty much,” he said. “I’m feeling confident that I should be able to get the job done.”

The keen teenager has not missed a beat in his training at Judo Bendigo since the new year, said sensei (coach) Ben Donegan.

That combined with Jolly’s growth gives Donegan confidence the youngster can defend his title.

“He’s a lot bigger and stronger than he was a year ago, but he’s still in the same weight class, so he should be able to impose a more physical game,” Donegan said.

“He’s 47 or 48kg at the moment, whereas this time last year he was only 43kg.”

The Oceania titles will be held from April 13 to 14.

POWER: Bryan Jolly flips coach Ben Donegan.  Pictures: PETER WEAVING

POWER: Bryan Jolly flips coach Ben Donegan. Pictures: PETER WEAVING