Whanganui heavyweight judoka Keightley Watson has a big weekend coming where he can put some of his latest international training to effective use.
Watson will be competing in the 43rd Matsuru Dutch Open Espoir in Holland this weekend, a tournament for under 15, under 18 and under 21 judokas.
Organisers have limited entries to 1850 judokas this year, with 21 countries represented and competitions competing on 12 mats over the two days.
Watson has been based in Goirle, Tilburg in the Netherlands since December 18 last year for a five week training camp at Jan De Rooys Judo Academy for preparation for the coming year under the guidance of Grim Vuijsters, who has won nine world cup medals during his career.
This will be by far the largest tournament Watson has competed in although not as high profile as the World Cadets that he fought at last year in Santiago De Chile, where 65 countries were entered.
"It is our understanding that several hundred entries were declined due to judokas not meeting the closing date for entries," father Ross Watson said.
Training is going well for young Watson and calls via messenger are keeping the family here in Whanganui updated.
"Keightley said he was at one training with 30 black belts, and another had four 7th Dan judokas along with about 25 black belts. These are numbers not seen here in New Zealand," Watson senior said.
"The wealth of knowledge, experience, training and technical details he is being given is of huge benefit, Keightley told us. He has already attended two invitation training camps with judokas coming from not only the Netherlands, but France, England, Belgium and Russia to name a few. An invitation has been extended for Keightley to train at one of the English Dojos when he travels there later this month.
"The upcoming competition will certainly test what he has learned, and we are awaiting confirmation of a live streaming link so we can watch him fight from New Zealand."
This is the first competition parents Ross and Barbara have not attended in person as coach and manager to their son.
Keightley returns to New Zealand on January 27 and has just one day to recover from any jetlag before starting school at Whanganui High again for just two weeks when he heads to Canberra in Australia to compete in the ACT International Open where he will be competing in the Cadet Men, Junior Men and Senior Men divisions.