SOUTHEND Judo Club’s annual international competition has been hailed a success by competitors.

The two-day event was held at Southend Leisure & Tennis Centre at Garon Park over the weekend and attracted nearly 1,000 fighters from around the world.

It is the third time the club has held the tournament and it earned praise from those attending.

“Everyone — fighters, coaches and spectators — told us just how good it was,” said Southend Judo Club chairman John Horrigan.

“One international coach, who has been to 80 events this year all over the world, stated that the Southend International was number one, and there were similar comments all over the internet.

“We would like to thank everyone who helped and supported the event, including the councillors that attended, and Southend Council,” Horrigan added.

The weekend was successful for the club competitively too, with Southend players winning six gold medals, one silver and four bronze.

The Southend International started three years ago and was the brainchild of Horrigan and club coach Pascal Knappen.

The first one was held at the Chase Sports Centre in Prittlewell Chase, Westcliff, and switched to Garon Park, in Eastern Avenue, last year.

This year’s event attracted nearly 1,000 junior, senior and veteran competitors, who competed in various age and weight categories.

Horrigan added that the number of international competitors and clubs attending had been boosted by the development of Southend Airport, with many of them staying at the nearby new Holiday Inn hotel.