Last month, the Government set out its roadmap which will see restrictions eased out of lockdown in England. While British Judo has welcomed the news, we have been patiently waiting to see how the roadmap will affect our sport and how we consider our own roadmap for the return of judo, in accordance with all Government measures.

Although it may feel like restarting is further away than we would like, we are pleased for our members and clubs that there is now a light at the end of the tunnel and offers them a series of dates for us all to look forwards to.

As with previous Government announcements, it is always difficult to understand how the restrictions will affect combat sports in particular, where close contact is required. We always have to wait for clarification from the DCMS and Sport England before publication of any guidelines. As we move closer to each significant milestone, further detailed advice will be published to clarify what is and isn’t permitted – hence why our roadmap still requires for areas to be confirmed. What this roadmap does provide though is an outline of how judo can return and provides the opportunity for you to consider when you can return to the mat. Each stage is very much subject to change based upon Government guidance over the coming months.

We will update our guidance on the Covid-Hub as more details become available. We are currently working closely with the Areas to understand their concerns and how we can relaunch the sport.

One major milestone will come on 22nd March when our England Talent Development Centres will be allowed to open under the “elite-sport” exemption. These will be delivered as England Talent Development sessions at England Talent Development Centres for the fighters. ETDCs are contracted to deliver these specific sessions for these specific fighters. This does not permit clubs to deliver contact training at any other sessions to any other fighters. All sessions have risk mitigations in place to mitigate against spread of Covid-19.

This has been a difficult year for everyone concerned with judo and as the roll out of the vaccination programme gathers pace, we can begin to look forwards to donning our judogis once more.

As always, we remain available to provide help and support to any members or clubs on your return to play – we will release updated resources and guidance documents on our Covid-Hub on https://www.britishjudo.org.uk/covid-19/ or you can contact us directly.