Britain's ace James Ryan is Davao's Batang Pinoy-A A +A
Saturday, August 17, 2013
GREAT Britain's No. 1 judoka in under-15 boys 50-55 kilograms will don Davao City's colors in the 2013 Batang Pinoy Mindanao qualifying in Tagum City on August 27 to31. Yes, 13-year-old James Halasan Ryan is also set to defend his two titles as the 28th Mayor Rody and Vice Mayor Pulong Kadayawan Judo Tournament kicks off on August 24 at the Abreeza Mall.
James is the only child of British scientist Edward and Filipino nurse Fe who is a native of Davao City.
Though born in Great Britain, James has already visited Davao City six times and he makes sure he never misses any judo action when he's around.
Last Thursday, he was among the guests of the Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA) Forum to promote the Kadayawan judo tournament along with the Tancontian father-daughter tandem of Paolo and Sydney.
The five-foot-five James, a Grade 9 student at Bishop Milner Catholic School in Dudley, said playing with Davao City players got him worried at first.
"I was worried as the rules here were different from Britain, specifically strangles were allowed. I had not then practiced them as in Britain you can only use them at 14 years or above," James said.
Despite the adjustments he had to make, James ended up bagging the Kadayawan gold medals in his class and in the open category.
He observed that Dabawenyos need to join more competitive tournaments for them "to get used to fighting players in different styles."
James started playing judo at age eight when his coach did a session at his primary school. He is being trained by former Seoul Olympics bronze medalist Dennis Stewart three times a week after his classes and competes in at least 10 tournaments a year.
He looks forward to playing in the Batang Pinoy, saying: "I always expect to win, if you think you are going to lose then you will."
He will face Mindanaoans with a vast experience of having competed in 49 tournaments including a silver medal finish in the prestigious British Championships 2013 held recently.
James has a total of 28 gold medals, 14 silvers and three bronzes. His Dad Edward said there were only four tournaments that James failed to win a medal.
On top of being a world-class judoka, James has also a long list of achievements in other sports like rugby football, soccer and cricket, among others.
It can be recalled that James played for Ateneo de Davao in the 2008 Alaska Cup in Manila. He also toured Europe with the Makati Football Club boys U11 team in 2009 when they played in Spain, Denmark and Sweded. He played goal and outfield. The team represented the Philippines in the World Youth Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden.
James copped the most valuable player (MVP) honors when he played with the Makati FC U12 boys in the 2010 tour. The squad played Costa Blanca Cup in Benidorm, Spain. The same team won the silver medal in the plate competition in the Barcelona Cup.
James is eyeing the 2020 Olympics. With the help of his parents, who serve as his inspiration, the young Fil-Brit is destined for greatness.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 18, 2013.