Deserved top Dan grades awarded to British Judo legends

The British Judo Association were delighted to present seven esteemed judoka higher grades of 7th Dan in recognition of their achievements, services and contributions to judo. All have and continue to play an important role, not only in British Judo, but in the World of Judo.

The presentations were made at the 2015 British Open in the events debut visit to Wembley. Double Olympic medalist and current Elite Performance Coach, Kate Howey MBE was amongst the awarded.

Kate said: “I am very honoured to receive my 7th Dan today. It is always nice to be recognised, and I am especially delighted because this is the first time I have been awarded a grade since 2000.”

Neil Eckersley has led the national team during his career as well as representing Great Britain at two Olympic games. Neil has been honoured at the weekend, speaking on the promotion, Neil said: “I am still in shock at the moment. I came from a tough place, I was a street kid and so achieving such a things as representing your country at two Olympics and winning a medal is unbelievable itself for me. Receiving my 7th Dan is the icing on the cake.”

Promotions to 7th Dan

Joyce Heron
Joyce represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games and placed 3rd at both the World and European Championships. A current international coach, Joyce is employed by British Judo as the Coach Education and Training Manager, developing coach education programmes.

Chris Bowles
Chris competed at the Moscow Olympics and was a European Silver medallist. He runs a successful schools judo business and was awarded the British Judo Performance Coach of the Year in 2009.

Neil Eckersley
1984 Olympic Bronze medallist, European Bronze medallist and member of the British Education commission, currently coaching in Norway.

Steve Lesik
Steve was a former Area Chairman as well as claiming medals in the British Masters and Kata competitions. He is currently a member of the Promotions Commission and is a coaching tutor, assessor and verifier.

Juergen Klinger
A former International representing Germany, Juergen is Head Coach at Bath University producing numerous British international players and is a lecturer of EJU coaching degrees.

Kate Howey MBE
Kate has won two Olympic medals and was awarded the MBE by the Queen for her outstanding competitive career. Now a British Judo Elite Performance Coach, passing on her skills to a new generation of judoka, coaching Gemma Gibbons to Olympic silver in 2012.

Dave Horton-Jones
Dave is the British Judo National Promotions and Grading Manager, a former Great Britain and Commonwealth Masters Champion. Whilst serving in the RAF he was RAF Champion 18 times and coached the RAF team to numerous Combined Service titles. He is a British Judo coach, tutor and assessor also a Senior and Kata Examiner.

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