National Randori sessions go off with a bang on Bonfire Night

Tuesday evening saw a successful launch to the weekly National Randori sessions at the sport’s brand new Centre of Excellence at the University of Wolverhampton’s Walsall Campus.

More than 50 athletes stepped on to the mat for the first session including some of the country’s best young judoka, who all came together to practice their fighting skills in an explosive display of randori.

There were some familiar faces in the shape of former world champion Craig Fallon and London 2012 Olympian Gemma Howell, as well as the BJA’s chairman Kerrith Brown and many of the GB squad coaches.

The popularity of the first national randori session was an indication of the interest in the new centre and bodes well for the future of British Judo, according to Nigel Donohue, British Judo’s performance director.

“It was a good turn out, the players made the effort to come along. The practice was good, the quality of judo was good, but watching the players train, it is clear that we need this level of practice and a weekly randori in place,” he said.

“We have a world class facility and this is only the start of it all. Over the next six months, you will see a big improvement in the facility. We have created the national randori and if all of the players turn up they will get the best practice in the country.

“You need to go where the practices are. If you are aspiring to be world-class, then this is where you need to be every Tuesday.”

Another session will take place on the evening of the official opening ceremony next Tuesday and will continue to take place each Tuesday from 19.30.

Words by Donna Richardson.