British Judo are saddened to hear of the passing of the Founder and President of the Welsh Judo Association, Alan Petherbridge MBE.
Thanks to Welsh for providing the following obituary:
Alan founded the Welsh Judo Association and became both the Welsh and British National Coach. In 1977, he received an MBE for his services to Judo in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee honours list. He became the World Combat Association Head of Budo and was a 10th Dan Budo and 9th Dan Judo.
He launched his incredible Judo career while serving with the British Army at Spandau Barracks in 1945, joining both the Swansea Judo Society in 1949, as well as the famous Budokwai in London the following year. In 1953 Alan represented Wales in the Home Internationals and became the first Judo player in Wales to achieve a 1st Dan.
At the 1961 British Championships he represented the British team that went to the to win in Paris. It was here at the same event where he represented Europe in the Intercontinental World Championships, where Europe won Gold. Alan was the British captain in numerous internationals during this period, and these accolades certainly amounted as he went on to secure four European Championship gold medals, two silvers and one bronze.
The 1964 Tokyo Olympics saw Alan not only become the first Welsh judoka to become an Olympian, but he led the British team into the Games. Two years later it was injury that forced him was forced to retire. Retirement didn’t mean slowing down, as he was appointed the first official British Judo Team Manager in 1966, and Chairman of the Technical Board of the British Judo Association (BJA). He was also Britain’s representative to the European Judo Union (EJU).
Alan was inducted in to The Welsh Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 for his exceptional achievements over the course of his Judo career.
Not only will Alan be sorely missed here in Wales by our Welsh Judo community, but across the globe. Our thoughts are with Alan’s family and loved ones at this difficult time.
Tributes have poured in from across the judo community on social media:
Ronnie Saez, Chairman of British Judo: “So sorry to hear this news. Alan was one of the British Judo originals, one of that golden generation who blazed a trail for the rest of us. A towering figure and a legend of both Welsh and British Judo. On behalf of the BJA I send my sincere condolences to Allan’s family and the Welsh Judo Association.”
Dave Starbrooke MBE: “Such sad news! I love this man! A great judo man who did so much work for the sport! I am going to miss talking to each other!”
Neil Adams MBE: “So so sad to hear this news! A judo legend and an amazing man! He led the way for many of us! His incredible personality and presence will be sorely missed! I have so many wonderful memories! Thank you!”