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Simply Judo VI Northern Ireland Hit Excellent New Milestone

Congratulations to the British Judo Member Club, Simply Judo who have reached an exciting new milestone for the visually impaired (VI), blind, deaf, and hearing impaired(HI) communities in Northern Ireland.

Their latest announcement is the launch of Simply Judo A.D.A.P.T.S Ballymoney, and Simply Judo A.D.A.P.T.S Jordanstown. Both officially opened in December, and offer weekly classes from a pool of volunteer coaches, including free suits, free mats and free insurance to the Jordanstown School.  These two clubs also have the honour of Tokyo 2020 Champion Chris Skelley MBE as their President.

The launch of these newly registered Simply Judo clubs in Northern Ireland focuses on the Adaptive community and brings the total number of Simply Judo members with Adaptive needs to almost 90.

The opening of these clubs is the result of an outreach project from the club’s Coach Education programme; ‘Simply Judo A.D.A.P.T.S’ which is the acronym for:


The project involves experts within Sport and Education in the Adaptive field who are delivering coach education to the club over the coming months.  This includes a weekend of Adaptive Education and Coaching Master Classes in March that are being delivered by Chris Skelley MBE and Kerry and Paul Tansey. These sessions are being held in one of Simply Judo’s Centres of Excellence at Maghaberry.

Simply Judo club coach Mark Montgomery, 6th Dan, said:

“The deaf, blind and VI community in Northern Ireland were delighted to learn of the announcement of Chris as Club President of the two clubs in Ballymoney and Jordanstown.

“To have a Tokyo Paralympic gold medallist in the club signifies a role model to aspire to and a person with whom the community identifies with.

“The clubs will host an entire adaptive weekend with club members and coaches, and include specific classes for our Adaptive members to enjoy!”

With over 500 club members, Simply Judo caters to everybody, from children aged five to adults aged 71, and from beginners to elite judoka on the Northern Ireland Performance Programme.  The addition of Simply Judo A.D.A.P.T.S Ballymoney and Jordanstown further cements the club’s stature in the local community by now offering specific sessions to the VI, deaf and blind community.

Such is the strength of the Simply Judo Adaptive membership they made up six of the 10-strong NIJF team selected to compete at the ‘British Judo Adaptive Championships’ in August 2022, winning both gold medals returned by the NIJF team.  Simply Judo’s Adaptive members formed part of a 30-strong club team that was expertly hosted by Destination Judo in Scotland last summer, which provided a platform for them to compete at the British Adaptive Championships.

Last year Simply Judo completed a coaching project producing twenty new BJA Level One club coaches (including two with Adaptive needs), with the aim that they will support the delivery of sessions across their community clubs.

In previous years the club coaches delivered two projects that each won the SportNI Project of the Year in their respective years.  These two projects addressed Refugee Integration and also Antisocial behaviour in the community, both using Judo as the vehicle.

“The success of these programmes is a collaborative effort from our own coaching team, local councils, and SportNI.”

Simply Judo extends its gratitude to SportNI, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and Ards & North Down Borough Council for their ongoing support, without which, the projects could not add as much value or capture the audience of those in need of support.

Speaking about the A.D.A.P.T.S. programme, Montgomery added:

“Our knowledge of Adaptive Judo is constantly expanding and it will continue to grow and develop over time to enable us to provide the best experience of judo to every one of our members.

“Before Christmas, we held the largest Judo Adaptive competition in Northern Ireland with 35 children in attendance.

Over the past five years, Simply Judo club coaches have delivered and been recognised through a variety of awards, including:

  • 2017 SportNI Project of the Year Winner – Refugee Integration Project (Simply Judo)
  • 2018 UK Sport Project of the Year – Runner-up
  • 2018 BJA Community Club of the Year
  • 2018 SportNI Project of the Year Winner – Antisocial behaviour Project (Portaferry School of Judo)
  • 2019 UK Sport Project of the Year – Runner-up
  • 2019 Lisburn & Castlereagh Sports Club of the Year
  • 2022 Lisburn & Castlereagh Sports Club of the Year – Runner-up
  • 2022 Lisburn & Castlereagh Special Needs Team of the Year – Runner-up
  • 2022 Lisburn & Castlereagh Club Merit Award Winner
  • 2022 BJA Adaptive Coach of the Year
  • 2022 Police Award for work in the community

With the launch of these two clubs in Northern Ireland, the future for Simply Judo has exciting times ahead.

We look forward to seeing more development milestones from Simply Judo in 2023 and beyond.

For more information on Simply Judo club sessions, check out their website – http://www.simplyjudo.com/

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