British Judo Centre of Excellence gains international seal of approval from Holland

A group of Dutch delegates visited the British Judo Centre of Excellence following an invitation extended by Jean-Paul Bell to the Performance Director of British Judo’s equivalent association in Holland.

At the recent IJF rules seminar, during a meeting in Malaga, Jean-Paul Bell met and invited a group of Dutch officials over to Walsall to view British Judo’s new facilities.

They were more than impressed with what they saw, describing the Association as “years ahead” in their thinking and in their performance plan to produce the next Great British Olympic champion.

In Holland there are four centres in operation, however they would like to embark on a centralisation programme.

British Judo opened their own national Centre of Excellence in Walsall last November and is already mid-way through their centralisation programme and the Dutch hope to learn much from the Association’s example.

The visiting delegation were impressed with the British Judo centralised programme’s progress so far thanks to the efforts of the Performance Directorate and the culture adopted at the centre.

Already, the performance lifestyle in place has been adopted well by the athletes and they found the whole experience very “refreshing”.

After seeing how the new performance pathway incorporates grassroots to elite, the Dutch delegates took copious notes to implement a similar system in their home country.

Overall, their feedback of the entire experience was very positive, according to Nigel Donohue, Performance Director at British Judo.

“They were really impressed with the direction that British Judo is heading and in terms of depth of thinking and knowledge, they said that the British Judo Performance Directorate are years ahead.

“We have set the new pathways and set standards which create a culture going forward to achieve the first Olympic champion.

“In the past we only planned for one cycle but now we are aiming for 2020.

“We are implementing the high performance system two Olympic cycles ahead.”

Alongside this British Judo is implementing its cultural change in strengthening standards of expectation on the programme and instilling the culture of excellence on the road to producing the very first Olympic champion and a world class performance system.

The journey is well underway and British Judo has much to look forward to over the next few months.

After being awarded UK Sport funding, the Association will be looking to install more key professionals; a physiotherapist is planned to start in March while a Pathway Manager will be appointed in April.

Watch this space for further updates.

Words by Donna Richardson.