Commonwealth commentators awarded top roles at Gateshead College

Gateshead College has teamed up with two international sports stars in a bid to unearth the next generation of judo talent.

Neil Adams MBE has been appointed technical director at the college’s judo academy, while Northumberland-born Chloe Cowen has taken on the role of head judo coach. Both were commentators for the BBC at the Commonwealth Games.

The double appointment is a major coup for the academy, which hosts the England ExCell Judo programme that aims to fast-track the development of elite judo players across the North East.

Neil is one of Britain’s most successful judoka, having won the 1981 World Championships, seven European Championship titles and two silver medals in the Moscow and Los Angeles Olympics. His partnership with Gateshead College will see him host 12 full-day sessions during the next 12 months for students keen to forge a career in the sport.

He will be joined by Chloe, a five-time European medallist who also won gold at the 1992 Commonwealth Championships.

Neil and Chloe visited Gateshead College to host a special master-class which allowed budding judo stars to try out their moves and perfect their techniques. Neil also shared top judoka tips at a “training secrets” event that was opened up to judo clubs across the North of England.

He said: “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with talented students who want a fulfilling career in the sport. The next generation of young judo talent will be able to develop their skills and confidence in an environment which has some of the best facilities and teaching support in the country.”

Chloe said: “Our aim is to create a centre for international judo talent at Gateshead College. Not only will the students acquire specific technical skills, they will also receive specialist mentoring and advice on weight management, strength and conditioning, recovery techniques and general sports therapy.”

Anyone who is aged between 16 and 19 and studying a full-time course at the college can join the judo academy.

Lewis Pendleton, sports academy manager at Gateshead College and a former judo international competitor, said: “We are delighted to have Neil and Chloe on board as we continue in our quest to develop the next generation of top judo professionals. Having competed at the highest level in their playing days, they also possess excellent teaching credentials as they have worked with young people and adults at a national and international level.”

Neil has recently returned from being the Belgian national coach to run his own coach education business, Neil Adams Effective Fighting. He is also helping to identify talent in Britain, readying them for international competition.

Meanwhile, Chloe became a support coach to the British judo team after her retirement in 2001.

For more information on the judo academy, or information on how to enroll, please call 0191 490 2447 or 0191 490 2326 or e-mail