Exciting times are ahead for British Judo on the Sunshine Island of Cyprus following the opening of a new RAF-led club on the island.
On the 22nd February at RAF Akrotiri, a new British Judo Club was officially opened by the Station Commander, Group Captain Mike Blackburn in the presence of the Club Management and players, the Chairman of the RAF Judo Association, Squadron Leader Steve Parlor, RAF Head Coach and Flight Sergeant Fred Harris.
In the same year that the RAF celebrates its 100th anniversary, a new grassroots judo club is born bringing the sport of Judo to serving personnel and their families posted to the island.
RAF Akrotiri sits on the southern side of Cyprus in the Western Sovereign Base Area. It is an extremely busy Permanent Joint Operating Base that supports ongoing operations in the Middle East as well as support for the Sovereign Base area on the Island of Cyprus.
The Club itself is located in the Akrotiri Martial Arts Centre and trains both seniors and juniors from age 5 upwards in the sport of Judo.
Station Commander, Mike Blackburn presented the RAF Akrotiri Judo Club with a certificate marking the official launch of the Club and expressed his appreciation to the team.
“It is great to see a new club open here at RAF Akrotiri that is already serving our community so well. It is not always possible given the pace of ops at Akrotiri to find serving personnel, with the time to spare, to take up the challenge of running welfare and community activities.”
“At the same time, gainful employment opportunities for spouses are not always in abundance here, so this brilliant initiative by Mrs Hemsley not only offers the community the chance to take part in such a fantastic sport, it offers employment and reduces the pressure on my busy team in having to run another club. It’s a win win situation and I am really grateful.”
Whilst Judo is an intense physical and mentally demanding full-contact sport it also gives its students a code of ethics made up of 8 parts: Courtesy, Courage, Honesty, Honour, Modesty, Respect, Self-Control and Friendship. The sport is practiced by more than 20 million individuals worldwide and is undoubtedly the most popular combat sport in the world.
The RAF Judo Chairman, Squadron Leader Steve Parlor, praised the team for the opening of the new Club: “RAF Judo is very proud to have been able to assist through the loan of judo mats to the Akrotiri Judo Club. I have been particularly impressed by the enthusiasm and hard work that has gone into the setting up of this fledgling club, and wish it good luck as it provides an excellent sporting opportunity for service personnel and their dependants at RAF Akrotiri.”