Olympians Appointed to British Judo Elite Coaching Programme

The British Judo Association is delighted to announce the appointment of Kate Howey MBE and Chris Bowles to British Judo’s Elite Coaching Programme.

Both former Olympians, the pair will take the position of Lead Coach for the Women’s and Men’s squads respectively, working in partnership with Performance Director Nigel Donohue and Director of Elite Coaching Neil Adams to deliver the association’s Great Britain performance programme.

Double Olympic medallist and former World Champion Howey, 39, led the women’s team to Olympic success during London 2012 with Gemma Gibbons’ silver medal and Karina Bryant’s bronze. She was the inspiration behind Gibbons who became the first judoka since Howey’s silver 12 years previous to win an Olympic medal. She not only coached the squad matside, but also played a significant role working with the athletes throughout the London 2012 cycle and in preparation for the games.

Howey is the only woman from this country to have won two Olympic medals – bronze in Barcelona in 1992 and silver in Sydney in 2000 – an achievement which earned her the honour of British flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Other achievements include a World Championship gold in 1997 and another four World and eight European Championship medals.

Chris Bowles, 55, represented Great Britain in the 1980 Moscow Olympics and is double European medallist. After retiring from professional judo he opted to coach at Tonbridge Judo Club in his home town in Kent. He pursued elite coaching as a qualified BJA Coach following encouragement from Olympic bronze medallists Brian Jacks and Arthur Mapp, who followed similar pathways.

Eight years ago, he took up a support coach role as part of the GB performance pathway and has developed elite athletes such as Ashley McKenzie and Katie-Jemima Yeats-Brown.

Commenting on the appointments, Performance Director, Nigel Donohue, said: “Securing Kate and Chris is great news for the programme, bringing the skills and knowledge we require for success in Rio and beyond.

“Kate has a fantastic track record at delivering at the highest level and I feel very positive in this Olympic cycle that she will continue to build on the success of London 2012 and fully develop into a truly world class coach.

“Chris has a wealth of experience and knowledge and is also a hard task master, which I believe will strengthen our men’s programme to enable us to deliver going into Rio. His attention to detail in profiling our men’s team against the World’s best will be instrumental in driving the team forward to perform at the 2016 Olympic Games.”

British Judo Chief Executive Andrew Scoular added: “I’m delighted that we’ve managed to secure the services of both Kate and Chris to our performance programme.

“Kate played a key role in the success enjoyed by Gemma Gibbons and Karina Bryant at London 2012, both in the coaching chair but also in the months building up to the games.

“Chris has worked closely with the performance programme over a number of years with a record of developing quality athletes.”

Following the appointment, Howey said: “I’d like to thank British Judo for opportunity to take the women’s team forward after success we enjoyed in London and build on the medals for Rio 2016.

“I’m looking forward to working in partnership with Nigel (Donohue) and Neil (Adams) to take the sport forward at a very exciting time for British Judo.”

Commenting on his new role, Chris Bowles said: “It is a massive challenge but I have never backed down from a challenge. This really is the pinnacle of my career. Having been to the Olympic Games twice and had other fantastic opportunities, this is the ultimate reward.

“I now have the chance to coach the next generation of athletes in preparation for the 2016 Games – it is a great honour. I want to study each and every player individually and develop them to the best of their abilities.”