Today sees the elite British Judo fighters travel to Papendal, Holland, for a private 5-day training camp with the Dutch National Judo Team next week.
25 fighters (13 male and 12 female) and 6 coaches will travel to the Dutch Olympic training venue in what signals the first time any British Judo team will have travelled outside of the UK since the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
British Judo medical and logistic teams have worked tirelessly in order prepare for this training camp and a special thanks also goes out the Dutch Judo Federation and Papendal Olympic Training Centre for allowing British Judo fighters and staff to travel into their training environment.
Papendal Olympic Training Centre regularly tests its athletes and staff and has employed strict measures for anyone training at the venue. Therefore, in order to meet safety concerns, a number of measures will be implemented to ensure the safety of both British Judo fighters and staff, in addition to Dutch Judo fighters and staff and other athletes training at the Papendal Olympic Training Centre.
Travel to and from Papendal, from Walsall, will be via minibus and the Eurotunnel. Once in France, there will be no rest stops until the team arrives at Papendal. This is to limit contact with others and possible exposure to the virus.
Prior to departure from Walsall this morning, all travelling members had to take, and pass, a PCR test on Friday. Upon arrival in Papendal, another PCR test will be performed, with fighters and staff having to remain isolated in their rooms until the results are confirmed on Sunday. Following the results of that test, fighters and staff will then be allowed to train on Monday morning.
British Judo fighters and staff will continue to stay in a hotel for the duration of the training camp. However, British Judo fighters and staff will be assigned a wing of the hotel that is isolated from other guests. British Judo fighters and staff will also eat independently in a room separate to other hotel guests.
When training, British Judo will have the use of an independent strength and conditioning room and wellness area. The only time they will mix with their Dutch counterparts will be in the dojo.
Following training, British Judo fighters and staff will return to their isolated area of the hotel and will not be permitted to mix with other hotel guests or members of the public.
Following the training camp and arrival back in Walsall on Friday evening, all fighters and staff will be required to take a further PCR test before returning to training on Monday.
Nigel Donohue, British Judo Performance Director said: “We have ensured that every measure possible is in place for our team to travel safely to Papendal and this is a very positive step forward in the return to our competition programme in preparing our fighters for competitive judo in 2021. With the Masters in January, and Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic qualification still to fight for, it is imperative that our fighters are back on the mat training with some of the best judoka in the world. Additionally, it is vitally important for our younger fighters to have randori exposure at this level, as we also need to be focussing on Paris 2024 as well.
Due to Covid measures across the globe, this training camp is rightly so, different to normal, but we are grateful to the Dutch Judo Federation and Papendal Olympic Training Centre for allowing British Judo the opportunity to join them for what promises to be a fantastic week of training. We will learn so much from this camp, on and off the mat, in the Covid world that we now live in, which will support our decision making going forwards for future events.”