British Judo Centre of Excellence

The British Judo Association, the national governing body for British Judo, has today (Thursday 15 December) announced the Olympic and Paralympic athletes selected for its World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) for 2016 – 2017.

Funded by the National Lottery through UK Sport, WCPP selection is based upon a set of criteria including potential to medal at future Olympic and Paralympic Games, results in the past year, and expected professional behaviours of an Elite athlete.

For 2016 – 2017, two athletes will be supported through the Olympic and Paralympic Podium programmes.  There will also be 20 Olympic and Paralympic athletes on the respective Podium Potential programmes. In addition to this, six athletes are being offered support in the British Judo Academy Programme which is funded directly by British Judo.

As a member of the WCPP, athletes receive an Athlete Performance Award (APA) to support their Judo programme and a specifically designed Coach led Individual Athlete Plan (IAP) for the year with agreed training and competition goals. This is supported by a comprehensive sports science services including Strength and Conditioning and Prehab programmes, Physiotherapy and Medical support, Performance Nutrition, Performance Psychology, Performance Analysis and Performance Lifestyle support.

The Academy programme is an investment from British Judo (around £8k per athlete per year) and provides a stepping stone from the Home Nations programme to the WCPP. All athletes on the ‘Academy programme’ receive free accommodation onsite, BOA Medical insurance, a Coach led Individual Action Plan (IAP) supported by a Sports Science and Sports Medicine programme and an induction/transition programme with the goal to transfer them onto the WCPP within 12 – 24 months.

From 2017 onwards, all athletes on the WCPP will operate from the British Judo Centre of Excellence (GB National Training Centre) as part of the agreed Tokyo strategy with UK Sport. Athletes on the WCPP, who are not currently based at the British Judo Centre of Excellence, will be supported through a transition programme to assist all athletes in this process. This includes the likes of Gemma Gibbons, Sam Ingram, Alice Schlesinger and Ben Fletcher who were offered places on the WCPP but decided to utilise the “self-funding” option available if they are to compete for GB Judo in the future. They will receive APA support for a specified period of time (see table below). It was mutually agreed between Ashley McKenzie and WCPP that he would not be a part of the programme.

Athletes exiting off the WCPP will receive transitional APA support as well as identified programme support for a period of time, which is based on the number of years they have been a member of the British Judo World Class Performance Programme.

Nigel Donohue, British Judo Performance Director, is looking forward to working with these athletes as we build towards Tokyo 2020:

“Over three years ago, British Judo was at the start of building a performance system for long-term success. We are very pleased with the performances and progress we have made over the Rio cycle across all levels culminating with a Rio Olympic Bronze medal for Sally Conway. Now though, our focus quickly moves to Tokyo, in what will be a landmark Games at the home of judo. As our performance system continues to improve we can now roll out our strategy with a very exciting group of athletes that we are confident can perform and medal in Tokyo.

“As always, making decisions on athletes to offer a place or not on the WCPP is a very difficult one and great care and consideration is taken when identifying athletes for the programme who we believe have medal potential for Tokyo or 2024.

“As always, British judo are thankful to the National Lottery and UK Sport for the support that they provide for our WCPP. Without them, we would never be able to offer such a comprehensive programme to our best athletes within the GB system with the goal of achieving success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

List of players on the British Judo World-Class Performance Programme



Athlete Weight Home Club Home Coach
Sally Conway U70kg Edinburgh Judo Club Billy Cusack
Natalie Powell U78kg Irfon Judo Club Darren Warner



Athlete Weight Home Club Home Coach
Nekoda Smythe-Davis U57kg Ealing Judo Club Jo Crowley
Kelly Edwards U52kg Wrekin Star Judo Club Gareth Mapp
Katie-Jemima Yeats-Brown U70kg Ryecroft Judo Club Ian Oliver
Max Stewart U90kg Stewart Judo Academy Dennis Stewart
Amy Livesey U63kg S.K.K Judo Club Peter Blood
Gemma Louise Howell U63kg Wolverhampton Judo Club Bill Kelly
Lucy Renshall U63kg S.K.K Judo Club Peter Blood
Philip Awiti-Alcaraz U100kg Enfield Judo Club George Hyslop
Bekky Livesey U57kg S.K.K Judo Club Peter Blood
Neil MacDonald U60kg SJCA Stephen Somerville
Lubjana Piovesana U63kg Bishop Challoner RC School JC Phil Hudson
Samuel Hall U66kg Ryecroft Judo Club Ian Oliver
Stuart McWatt U81kg Garioch Judo Club Stuart McWatt Snr
Chelsie Giles U52kg Coventry Judo Club Simon Moss
Eric Ham U73kg Glossop Judo Club Geoff Ham
Daniel Powell U73kg N/A N/A
Acelya Toprak U57kg Metro Judo Club Mick Murphy


Athlete Weight Home Club Home Coach
Christopher Skelley U100kg Haltemprice Judo Club Jeff Brady
Jack Hodgson O100kg Grimsby Judo Club Terry Alltoft
Natalie Greenhough U70kg Kin Ryu Judo Club Lisa Harrison


Athlete Weight Home Club Home Coach
Michelle Boyle O78kg Dynamic/Espirit Judo Club Lee Calder
Lele Nairne U57kg Bradley Stoke Judo Club Pete Douglas
Jamal Petgrave U90kg Westcroft Judo Club Andy Ede
Olivia Piechota U48kg JSC/Harris John Cottis
Scott Thomson U60kg Danderhall Judo Club/ Destination Judo Davie Reilly / Colin Woods
Kelly Staddon U48kg Ford Judo Club Bill Taylor

Players coming off WCPP and months of Transitional APA Support

Athlete Number of months on transitional APA support
Sam Ingram* 4 months
Jonathan Drane** 4 months
Colin Oates 4 months
Gemma Gibbons* 4 months
Alice Schlesinger* 2 months
Ashley McKenzie 4 months
Ebony Drysdale-Daley 2 months
Jodie Myers 2 months
Ben Fletcher* N/A as was on programme for three months leading into Rio and you need to have been on the programme for at least one year to qualify for transition funding from UKSport

*indicates players who were offered place on WCPP but have decided to utilise self-funding programme

**retired post-Rio 2016