Alice Schlesinger has today announced her retirement from judo after a career that has seen her compete on the international stage for over 15 years.
Born and raised in Herzliya, Israel, Alice competed for her country of birth until 2014, before switching to compete for Great Britain, the nationality of her mother.
Alice started her British Judo career in golden form, topping the podium at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix back in 2015, a highlight that Alice ranks as one of her greatest memories competing for Great Britain: “It was my second competition for Great Britain and came after not competing for over two and a half years. I remember beating Tina (Trstenjak (SLO)) and making the final where I faced Munkhzaya Tsedevsuren (MGN), a girl who I had lost to quite a few times before. I won the final and can remember feeling so excited, winning a gold medal in my first major competition for GB gave me such an amazing feeling.”
Over the subsequent 5 years Alice has represented British Judo at five European Championships, winning silver at the European Games in 2019 and bronze in 2017. This is in addition to four appearances at the World Championships and she was selected to represent Team GB at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
Prior to switching to compete for British Judo, Alice won bronze at the 2009 World Championships in Rotterdam before finishing 7th at the London Olympic Games in 2012 and was a double European Championship bronze medallist (2009 & 2012).
Alice retires having competed at three Olympic Games, nine World and European Championships and eight World Masters. She also has three Grand Slam gold medals and 12 Grand Prix medals.
Talking about what she will miss most in retirement, Alice said: “From a social aspect, I will miss travelling with the team and meeting up with my team-mates after not seeing them in so long, as I live in Israel. From a judo perspective I will miss getting on the mat and fighting, giving it my all and having that exhausted feeling at the end of the fight.”
Talking about what the future holds, Alice plans to study for a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, following the successful completion of her Psychology degree. “One of the reasons for stepping away from the mat now is to give myself the best possible chance of being accepted onto the master’s degree next year. I have to finish my degree this year to be considered, so I will be swapping my training for studying. I started studying psychology three years ago and I consider myself extremely lucky to have found something that I am just as passionate about, and I now want to see how far I can get in this aspect of my life.”
Reflecting on her career, British Judo Performance Director, Nigel Donohue said: “Alice has had a fantastic and outstanding career spanning over 15 years at elite level and I have had the privilege of welcoming her to the GB Team in the run up to the Rio Games. Incredibly, after being out of competition for such a long period of time, she returned back to competitive judo winning gold at the then, Dusseldorf Grand Prix. Alice has an intense and fantastic attacking judo attitude, who is exciting to watch, and one such performance that stands out for me was when Alice comprehensively won the 2017 Baku Grand Slam, spending just over 2 minutes in total on the competition mat.”
“We fully respect the decision that Alice has made and are grateful to have had the benefit of having her as a part of our team and wish her well for her future. In both Pavel, her coach, and Alice, we have made some great Judo friends on and off the mat who will always be a part of our Team.”
Everyone at British Judo wishes Alice well in the future and look forward to welcoming her back to the National Centre of Excellence when she next visits her family in England.