Want to be a Paralympian? Come try Visually Impaired Judo with Ben Quilter

British Judo is offering the chance to try visually impaired judo and to get on the mat with Paralympic bronze medallist and former double world champion Ben Quilter, at the iconic Copper Box Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Park, on Tuesday 24 March.

The event will take part in the heart of the Olympic Park and is aimed at children and adults with any visual impairments to come and try the sport between 12pm and 2pm at one of the venues that was the home of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Come along and give judo a go, and at the same time, potentially be spotted as a future GB Paralympian as British Judo ramps up its campaign to identify talent for Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

Ben, who started judo at the age of seven before he was diagnosed with Stargartds disease, eventually started losing his sight around the age of 12. He was accepted onto the VI programme and then the Paralympic programme, ahead of the Sydney Olympics, just missing out but then went on to compete in Beijing and eventually winning bronze at London 2012, where he retired from the sport.

“I remember when I first got involved in Paralympic Judo and although I was not ready to compete in Sydney and then narrowly missed out for Athens I went on to compete in Beijing and then win at the Games in London.

“Judo is a truly inclusive sport and you can give it a try in your local club. Ahead of the Games I was lucky enough to be given a chance and went on to win a Paralympic medal and you can do the same.”

“Since retiring from competitive judo I have been keen to give back to sport,” he said.

“In my current role, my focus is disability sport and physical activity development. I work for Better, which is a charitable social enterprise and the opportunity to use one of the Olympic and Paralympic venues that we operate came up.”

Ben is also an athlete ambassador for the GLL Greenwich sports foundation, a charity that has supported over 6500 athletes since 2008 including judoka such as Olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons and Ashley McKenzie as well as Natalie Greenhough who recently medalled at the VI judo Junior World Games in Eger, Hungary.

“If I can help to develop the sport that gave me so much then I will do my best to. I look forward to the event and I hope we succeed in providing new exciting judo opportunities to visually impaired people whether it is recreationally or we discover the next Paralympic medallist.”

For last year’s National Paralympic Day, Ben Quilter took 14 children with a disability to the Copper Box Arena as a part of Motivate East’s Paralympic Legacy project. He said: “Going into the Copper Box Arena still makes me have goosebumps. It is centrally located at the heart of the Olympic Park near to the media centre and the athlete village and I had to walk past there every day so it still brings back memories.”

Want to come along? To register and for more information email: vijudo@britishjudo.org.uk