Westerleigh Judo Club claim 35 medals at the Pan Disability World Championships in Holland

During the Easter holidays, Westerleigh Judo Club travelled with 24 adaptive athletes, ranging from age 4 to adults to Holland, for the Pan Disability World Championships, with the team returning home with 35 medals.

The athletes have a wide range of disabilities, ranging from; cerebral palsy, autism, learning difficulties, vision impairments, full time wheelchair users and registered blind, to name a few. They have trained incredibly hard at the club in the run up to the competition and faced stiff competition from their opponents across the world.

There were adaptive athletes from Sweden, Netherlands, Brazil, Israel, America and the UK; all who competed in different weights and levels across the two day championships. There were also teams in the World Kata Competition.

The athletes fought some amazing judoka, in some tough fights, and bought back a total of 35 medals between them: 15 gold, 7 silver and 13 bronze! The clubs highest total of medals at a competition to date.

Westerleigh Judo Club coach and Director, Paul, said:

“The skill and talent of our athletes is unbelievable. I am sure challenges they have faced in their lives helps give them the determination they need to succeed on the mat. These results show that you must not let a disability hold you back.”

Westerleigh athletes showed amazing team spirit, sticking together and supporting each other to compete, and this attitude and ethos is what judo is all about. The club travelled with a team of medical and welfare staff in addition to carers to ensure the safety and well-being of all the athletes. The club carefully planned the trip to ensure all athletes, no matter their disability or challenge, can attend.

However, taking part in the Pan Disability World Championships would not have been possible without the generous funding received from some local trusts and organisations, and Westerleigh Judo Club would like to thank them again for their help. A special thank you must go to The Isabel Blackman Foundation, Hastings Lions, Trenchline, A Lacy Tate Trust, Hastings Youth Trust, NDT Maincal limited and individual sponsors.

Isabelle, 15, World Kata Champion said:

“The opportunity to become a World Judo Champion is amazing, the whole experience is so much fun and, as a club, it brings us all together.”

Westeleigh Judo has been training Judo champions for over 28 years. The club currently train on a Tuesday evening (7pm-9pm) and Saturday morning (9am-10:30am adults and 10:30-12noon children) at Pebsham Community Hall. All are welcome, no need to book, just come along.

If you would like further information on Westerleigh Judo Club, please visit our website www.westerleighjudo.org.uk or message us on Facebook @WesterleighJudo

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