Coveted High Dan Grades awarded to British Judoka

British Judo, the European Judo Union and the International Judo Federation are delighted to announce 13 outstanding individuals have been promoted to coveted high grades of 7th and 8th Dan in recognition for their achievements, services and contributions to judo.

Two judoka received 8th Dan awards, and 11 individuals gained their 7th Dan, and these diplomas will be presented later this year.

BJA Director and former world and European judo champion Loretta Cusack-Doyle, who in her career has won 35 international medals and is an international coach and Robert Thomas, World Masters kata judge who judged at Kodokan in 2003 and Vienna in 2004.

He is a member of the British Kata Commission, were both approved for their 8th Dan award. This was approved upon proposal of member national federation and upon the opinion of the continental union as well as the grade and dan rank commission of the IJF.

One of the 11 judoka awarded their 7th Dan is Kate Howey, MBE, who won two Olympic medals during an illustrious career with silver in Sydney and bronze at Barcelona in 1992, and is now the lead women’s coach for Great Britain.

Howey who consistently won silver at the European Championships in 1990, 1993, 2000, 1993, 2000 and bronze in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 2000, said: “I am thrilled to be awarded my 7th Dan after 15 years as a 6th Dan. The Championships is a great honour and will take me back to previous championships that I have won medals at the past. Now I will be there as a coach seeing the next generation compete.”

From 1st to 6th Dan, ranks are awarded under the member national federation while the 7th Dan is awarded upon proposal of member national federations by executive committees of the continental unions, advised by the continental grade and dan rank director. In achieving her 7th Dan,

Howey is joined by fellow Olympians, players, coaches and technical officials were recognised for a 7th Dan award. Other outstanding individuals include:

Chris Bowles, European silver medallist in 1980, and Moscow Olympian, who runs a successful schools business and was awarded international BJA performance coach of the year in 2009.

Neil Eckersley, who won a bronze medal at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics and at the European championships and is now a member of the British Schools Commission Fellow LA Olympian and world medallist Steve Gawthorpe, an international coach and has coached VI Paralympic medallists.

Former German international player and current coach Jürgen Klinger, who heads up the judo at Bath University where many GB internationals train and a lecturer in EJU coaching degrees.

Dermot Heslop, former BJA Director, coach of international players, BJA coaching tutor and six years as coach and development officer for the Northern Ireland Judo Federation.

Steve Lesik; a former Area Chairman and former national masters and kata medallist, a BJA and UKCC coaching assessor and verifer, serving on the BJA promotions commission and is a coach at Cambridge University.

Keith Merrick, masters medallist, IJF referee, Refereeing Commission Chairman and a member of the British Judo Technical staff.

Dave Stanley, now 7th Dan, twice Paralympic Referee and now on the IBSA World Refereeing Commission

Matthew Clempner, a British Open medallist, former member of the coaching commission and self defence co-ordinator

Chris Hunt, is a former Director of the BJA, former police champion and previous chair to the promotions and coaching commissions. He is currently the head coach at Japan Arts Centre.

British Judo Chairman Kerrith Brown said: “I am delighted to see the awarding of these high Dan Grades by the EJU and I congratulate all of the individuals who have demonstated the relevant competencies and achievements throughout their careers to receive this.

“It speaks volumes in their dedication to the sport and to the association and it is a fantastic achievement and a milestone for them and for the people who supported them to get where they are today. Now they can pass on the baton to the next generation.”

Gradings and Promotions Manager Dave Horton Jones added: “It was an honour to be involved in the promotion process for all these outstanding judoka that have achieved so much in their judo careers.”

Any judoka that feel they have made a similar contribution to British Judo to merit promotion to the High grades of 7th Dan and above, please check the criteria and follow the application procedure, published on the BJA website.

To find out more click here.

This article has been updated since first published.