On Saturday 6 February the British Judo Centre of Excellence once again hosted the National Inclusion Training Day which saw over 100 Visually Impaired (VI) and Special Needs (SN) judo players from across the country taking part.
The players were joined on the mat by a number of luminaries from the world of British Judo including former World Champion and BJA Board member Loretta Cusack Doyle and double Paralympic medallist Ian Rose. World-Class Performance Programme (WCPP) players Lele Nairne, Ebony Drysdale and Neil MacDonald also joined in the Randori sessions and gave the players their expertise from competing on the international circuit.
Sara Hayes, BJA Board Member and Chair of the Inclusion Commission, was delighted with how the day went:
“The Inclusion Training Day was another huge success. There were adult and junior players and coaches on the mat, from beginner to black belt, from Cornwall to the north of Scotland. It was great to have Jo Imrie and Ken Thorne, the Special Needs Squad coaches, on the mat along with Kerry Tansey, who runs the BJA’s Coaching Disabilities Workshop, in addition to her role as Delivery Officer for the North and West. There were smiles all round, as everyone worked hard all day. Thanks are also due to Steve Westlake, who arranged the day, and Inclusion Commission volunteers Jean Cleere and Andy Scott, experts in Special Needs competition, who were on hand providing advice. It really was a truly inclusive day.”
Kerry Tansey, BJA Delivery Officer, was also full of praise for how the day went:
“The day was another brilliant success, I loved every minute of it. All players participated to their maximum and gave 100% effort all day. We welcomed new faces to the session and they embraced the day whole heartedly. Parents were amazed at their child’s participation and overcoming new environments, people and experiences. The biggest comment from them ‘Can we have more like this’ and ‘they will definitely sleep on the way home’.
“The Special Needs Performance players also had a great experience from both Loretta and Ian, giving their expertise in movement, practical applications and awareness.”
If you are interested in finding out more, talk to your nearest BJA club coach to find out which class would be best for you. There are lots of ways that judo coaches have always enabled players of all abilities and disabilities to participate in their clubs – the BJA can offer them advice if needed, it runs courses from time to time to raise coach awareness of good practice, and SCUK have a number of very useful coaching awareness leaflets available at: http://www.sportscoachuk.org/resource/impairment-specific-factsheets
You can also find a list of Special Needs Competition & Training Sessions for 2016 here.