Two of judo’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic hopefuls were awarded accolades at the University of Wolverhampton Sports Awards 2014 ceremony that took place at Banks Stadium on Wednesday 19 March.
The Female Sportsperson of the Year award went jointly to Ebony Drysdale-Daley, originally from Birmingham and Jodie Myers of Moreton, Wirrall.
These athletes are currently studying at the University of Wolverhampton and are based at the British Judo Centre of Excellence on the Walsall Campus. Jodie is studying Events and Venue Management and Ebony is reading Sports and Exercise Science. The award was given for their outstanding performance in domestic and international judo competitions over the last 12 months.
The pair are firm friends and do almost everything together so it seemed fitting for them both to be awarded the accolade, especially as they are rarely seen apart.
Most recently the pair both won medals at the European Judo Union (EJU) cup in Coimbra, Portugal as Jodie took gold and Ebony took a bronze. Myers, originally from Leasowe and who now trains at Wolverhampton University, took a big step towards realising her dream of competing in the 2016 Olympic Games and winning silver at +78kg, just over a month after starting her course at Wolverhampton University. She adds this to her gold from the year before. In 2014 she has won five EJU medals last year including four bronze and one gold.
She also won five bronze medals at EJU U21 Cups and took silver and bronze at Senior cups too. Her biggest competition to date was the Junior World Championships where she beat Junior European Champion Aleksandra Babintceva of Russian at the Worlds by ippon to progress to the next round but lost by two yukos to Ivana Sutalo of Croatia in the second round of the +78kg women’s category despite a strong performance throughout.
Jodie said: “To win this award together just feels right, We’ve been friends for a long time. We actually used to fight each other and that’s how we first got talking, then we both moved to Walsall.
“We both train together and so to have my training partner win alongside me in Coimbra was great. We are off to Italy at the end of the month too.”
After winning silver at the British U21 Championships in Sheffield at -70kg, Drysdale-Daley went on to take gold at the Scottish Open U21 Championships Meadowbank as well as become British University Champion. Following up with a double silver at the English Senior and Junior Open in Sheffield and a bronze at the EJU European Cup U21 in Coimbra.
Ebony added: “I am really enjoying my training at the CoE and all is going really well. For us to win this award in the first semester is really satisfying. We are training three times a week, five hours a day and all the hard work appears to have paid off. I still support my old club Erdington too.”
Dave Elmore, Judo development officer based at the University, said:
“We have many high performing sports men and women at the University training at the British Judo Centre of Excellence.
“This awards evening was an opportunity to celebrate their success and show how much the University supports and recognises their achievements.
“For judo to be recognised is a fantastic achievement”.
Words by Donna Richardson and Dave Elmore.
Photo: Jodie Mullen and Ebony Drysdale-Daley with their trophies for Kristian Thomas a local Gymnastics 2012 Olympic medallist.