Many thanks to Wendy Cooke for the below write-up

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They say that it is never too late and Gordon Cooke has proved this by gaining his black belt!

Gordon took up judo thirty years ago and has been a permanent fixture each week at the Abbey Judo Club in the Valley Leisure Centre, Northern Ireland.  He graded to 1st Kyu in 2003 and despite being a regular player Gordon never took the next step to black belt.

William Cully Abbey head coach was the inspiration behind the idea of Gordon completing his technical black belt and Jonathan Cooke of Kookateki Judo Club had the honour of putting his second cousin Gordon through the syllabus.

William and Jonathan presented Gordon with his 1st dan black belt at a surprise ceremony on Friday night at the Abbey club.

William Cully said “Judo is great because you never stop learning.  You can practice for a lifetime and still find more to discover!  It also shows how the technical grading system can be really beneficial to judo.”

Jonathan Cooke commented “This was something I really wanted to do for Gordon.  It shows you can achieve 1st dan if you put your mind to it and that the sport truly is for all.”

If you live in Newtownabbey or Belfast judo classes run for children and adults at the Abbey Judo Club on Wednesday and Friday and at Kookateki Judo Club on Saturday morning.

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