Inclusivity at judo competitions in Hampshire

The 1st Hampshire Special Needs Open Championships was held on Sunday 6 July at the Mountbatten Leisure Centre in Portsmouth.

This was held at the same time as a mainstream event with the mats being side by side to demonstrate the inclusivity of judo as a sport. With a large number of contestants from clubs in Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Surrey, Wiltshire, Nottinghamshire, Wales and even Sweden, the event was well supported.

Thanks to the players, coaches and carers for all supporting the event and making it a success. The mats at the venue had been arranged so that the judo  and their supporters were matside to voice their support and encourage the players, it worked a treat and the support was more vocal than the mainstream event on the neighbouring mats.

The competitors had Visual Impairments, Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, Autism, ASD, ADHD, Asperger’s and Learning difficulties and it worked well with all the competitors having to go through several fights to win their medals. For many ‘mainstream’ players and their families this was the first time that they had seen judo for people with additional needs and they joined in the sense of fun and enjoyment from players and officials alike.

We saw some fantastic matches, Liam Gabb Roxanne and Christian Elford were a great example and they traded hold down for hold down, never quite managing to take it to the full time required, but they smiled, listened to the encouragement of their coaches and the supportive referees and finally Christian managed to win with a great Kesa Gatame.

Looking at Sarah Gratton’s throw for waza-ari and hold down for ippon against Roxanne Simmons, the excitement on her face was clear to all having won. This is how judo should be played.

Fun for all, enjoyment, pleasure, supportive and encouraging officials and parents/carers/players who have exemplary etiquette. Bryan Andrews Hampshire Judo Special Needs Coordinator said: “I’ve seen many competitions over the years in many different Martial Arts and the way that Andy and Chris ran this one, coupled with the refereeing could be a gold standard for others to follow. What was nice about the event was the friendliness of the competitors to one another and seeing coaches helping the ‘opposition’ isn’t something you’ll see too often elsewhere.”

Andy and Chris Scott made the long journey up from North Cornwall to run the event on the day and it went very smoothly with the aid of a group of hard working tournament officials, all of whom are richly deserving of praise and thanks.

The referees were Tony White, Dave Dyer and Dave Tooby. The Table Officials were Chris Scott, Malcolm and Dave Tooby and Ruth White. Thanks also go to Lynn Stringer from Hampshire Judo for arranging all of the medals. Paul Hamilton, Chair of Hampshire Judo and Tina Penfold, Secretary of Southern Area Judo and IJF Kata judge presented the medals to the competitors. Watch out for the event next year and visit:



Category B1 Gold Medal Liam Byrne Silver Medal Dahnon Ward Bronze Medal Aaron Tree

Category B2 Gold Medal Harry Farley Silver Medal Luke Cheshire Bronze Medal Josh Cook Bronze Medal Kyle Shaw

Category B3 Gold Medal Jimmy Alderson Silver Medal Matthew Simmons

Category B4 Gold Medal Jed Williams Womens Categories

Category W1 Gold Medal Jenny Oster-Hall Silver Medal Sarah Gratton Bronze Medal Roxanne Simmons

Category W2 Gold Medal Sarah Gratton Silver Medal Roxanne Simmons Bronze Medal Lynsey Mason Mens Categories

Category M1 Gold Medal Thomas Mawdsley Silver Medal Adam Pope Bronze Medal James Everest

Category M2 Gold Medal Liam Avis Bates Silver Medal Thomas Farley Bronze Medal Gavin Downey

Category M3 Gold Medal Benjamin Warburton Silver Medal James Bools Bronze Medal Daniel McMail

Category M4 Gold Medal David Wilson Silver Medal Chris Day Bronze Medal Stephen Peddar Bronze Medal Michael Stillwell

Category M5 Gold Medal Christopher Symes Silver Medal Jamie Cooper

Category M6 Gold Medal Daniel Kidd Silver Medal Christian Elford Bronze Medal Calum Bowman Bronze Medal Liam Gabb

Category M7 Gold Medal Graham Light Silver Medal Paul Garnham Bronze Medal Matthew Sayers

Category M8 Gold Medal Craig Edwards Silver Medal Harry Refsum

Category M9 Gold Medal George Clithero