It’s a family affair as Crayford Judo Club opens its doors

A new judo club that recently opened in the heart of Crayford town is providing a unique opportunity to encourage the growing local area to get involved in judo.

Housed in a brand new Community Centre, Crayford Judo Club in Dartford was set up by the Holmes family; with Neil, who officiated at the Olympics, and his mum Barbara who are both qualified senior recorders, taking the lead.

The coaching team comprises of brothers Graham, Craig and Neil who are all UKCC Level 2 qualified, and Julie Rousseaux who holds an Instructor Award.

Graham is also a BJA B referee and his dad Kevin is a BJA C referee. Whilst Craig, formerly a Cadet and Junior England and GBR competitor, is currently studying for his UKCC Level 3 award.

Neil said: ”We would like to thank volunteers and friends for their help, support and advice. We will be working hard to grow the club which we are all very excited about; with members of the community already expressing a keen interest in joining.”

Despite being open a few months, it has been a busy start for the club where members have already achieved encouraging results.

Jamil Issifu was the first player to win a medal for Crayford Judo Club with a bronze medal at the Eastern Area age bands. This was followed by Patrick Sykes winning two gold medals (his weight and the weight group up) and a bronze (an age band up).

Two weeks later at the NHC Pre-Cadet Open, Alex Macasaddu claimed silver and Patrick Sykes won gold.

Jael Varatharasan, Jamil Issifu and Elyas Agounizera also won medals at the
British championships for 10,11 and 12 year olds in September. All three players went home with a national medal – Jael (-28kg) won bronze, Jamil (-60kg) also won bronze and Elyas (-50kg) won five fights on his way to the silver medal.

In addition, Graham and Neil officiated at the Sainsbury’s School Games, while three England players – Sephora Varatharasan, Patrick Sykes and Erik Whitaker will be part of the England squad travelling to Flanders Cup (Belgium) this weekend.

Crayford Judo Club is open every Monday and Friday (both 7.15pm to 8.30pm) and costs £4 per session.

Find out more at or contact / 01322 631 108.

Words by Donna Richardson.