We woke up at 6:15.
We were out of the house by 7:15.
We arrived at the Docklands at 8:30.
We registered for the competition at 8:35.
We were told that the bouts would start at 9:00.
At 9:30, they still hadn't started.
We asked an official what was going on.
They were expecting a contingent of kids, they said.
You wouldn't want to disappoint a bunch of kids, would you? they said.
The kids arrived at 10:00.
The bouts began at 10:05.
The boy was eliminated in the first round at 10:15.
The boy has been going for judo classes for a few years now, but this was his first competition outside his club.
He was the only representative of his club at the competition.
The other kids came from Hackney and Kent and south-east London. They came in groups, teams, with their coaches, all of them gung-ho.
The boy felt a bit left out when the other kids started warming up and practice sparring with each other.
I'm bored, he said. I've got nobody to practice with.
Just join one of those groups, I said.
Before long, he was running around and practising throws with his new friends.
The boy was in tears after his elimination.
You did really well, said a girl. I saw you, you were pretty good.
The boy was disconsolate.
I only had two fights, he said.
These kids have been taught throws that I don't know, he said.
They cheated, he said.
They didn't bow before the fight, he said. That's cheating.
We explained that this was his first competition and that he didn't roll onto his tummy as soon as he fell.
You'll do better next time, we said. Don't feel too bad.
I'm embarrassed, he said.
I'm never going to the Docklands again.